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Dhumohi on khol, 29400 hands at play for record

- Titabar to host drum-playing event on January 6 for a bid to enter Guinness Book

Jorhat, Dec 17: The sound of more than 14,000 khols will reverberate at a field in Titabar sub-division of Jorhat district on January 6.

Altogether 14,700 khol artistes will perform in a bid to enter the Guinness Book of Records.

The khol, a kind of drum, forms an integral part of the Vaishnavaite culture of Assam.

The bid, if successful, would obviously turn the world’s focus on this culture propagated by the 15th century Vaishnavaite philosopher and socio-religious reformer Srimanta Sankardev of Assam.

Prior to the main event and the rehearsal on January 5, more than 2,000 people will come together to clear the 30-bigha field where the performance will take place.

A member of Srimanta Shankardev Sangha, the main organiser, and publicity secretary of the event, Prasenjit Rajkhowa, said while observers from the India Book of Records and Asia Book of Records would be present, the presence of the Guinness Book of Record observer in India was unconfirmed, although he had been invited.

“We had applied to the Guinness Book of Records authority and they wrote back that for a record to be created, the number of people playing any kind of musical instrument would have to be 11,000 as records in other musical instruments had already been set at more than 10,000,” he said.

The office-bearer further said though they had set 10,000 as the required number in the state more than 14,000 were readying for the show.

The three rhythms which they will play are phalli sahini, utha sahini and dhumohi, mentioned in the book Purbaranga Parasana.

Besides Srimanta Shankardev Sangha, innumerable clubs, NGOs and individuals are associated with the event and anyone who can play the khol may participate.

The participants have a dress code — white cotton top, white dhoti with thin border, a seleng sador and a 4metre turban known as thekeru potia. The participants must be between the ages of 18 years and 45 and not less than 4 feet in height.

“In order for the show to go off without a hitch, a rehearsal will take place on January 5. We have estimated that it would take nearly five hours for all the participants to assemble and take position in rows and columns. The entry will start at 8am and be over by 1pm. During that time, an elaborate inaugural ceremony will take place. The khol performance will take 45 minutes following the inauguration and should be over by 3pm,” Rajkhowa said.

Temporary camps will be set up to accommodate the gathering and the participants will receive meals sponsored by the state government and the sangha.

Rajkhowa said in different parts of Assam, groups of khol artistes were already practising playing of the musical instrument.

Titabar sub-divisional officer K.K. Gogoi said the administration would provide drinking water, ambulances and fire-fighters during the event.