Typical Holi song, Jogira, on verge of disappearance

Dhanusha: The 'jogira' song which is sung with the accompaniment of instruments like dholak, mridanga and damphu during Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, in the Tarai districts is on the verge of disappearance these days due to the encroachment of foreign culture.

"The entire settlement used to reverberate with jogira songs and the drum music during the Fagu (Holi festival). But these days one can hardly hear such songs and musical instruments," Ram Sagar Birahi, a local from Mahendranagar, Ksheereshwarnath Municipality, lamented.

The Fagu songs which also include the 'jogira' are performed from Shreepanchami festival until the Fagu Poornima for a period of 45 days.

"We feel really bad as these Fagu songs are slowly dying out. The advent of the Fagu festival was heralded by singing these seasonal songs. But these songs are rarely sung and the various instruments played now," Birahai said, adding that it has been nearly seven years that he has heard jogira songs sung in his village during the Fagu festival.

He shared that all the villagers used to assemble at the Bramhasthan in the middle of the village and sing the jogira with the playing of the musical instruments associated with it.

Bechan Yadav of local Hariharpur is equally concerned with the Fagu tradition losing its charm these days. He reasoned that as more and more village youths leave for abroad employment this tradition is not handed down to the new generation and hence its gradual disappearance.

More, Yadav said that anomalies have started creeping in the Fagu tradition thereby leading to degeneration of its originality. "Now a days there is no longer the originality in the Holi-related songs, dances and the way it is celebrated. It is marred by the brawls that often break out among the drunk revelers."

Satish Lal Karna of Mangalpur, Dhanushadham Municipality, expresses his sadness over not being able to sing the jogira along with playing the ancestral 'mridanga'. "The Holi festival has gradually lost its original appeal and has turned into a festival of trouble and hostility," he added.
It is said the jogira songs have also been affected as antagonism and conflict has gradually replaced love and goodwill and alcohol made inroads in place of the hemp in this festival.

The village elders these days fondly remember how they used to celebrate the Holi festival singing the jogira, dancing and playing the music to the hilt without any ill will. But, according to them, the festival has lost that sheen and its typical cultural tinge.

They say that a shade of obscenity has also creeped in the jogira songs these days. Records of these kinds of what are called modern jogira songs are found in the market and the youngsters like to play and listen to these songs rather than sing the original jogira.

The community seniors are worried that the day might not be far away when this colourful tradition might disappear altogether. So, they have alerted the youths and encouraged them to embrace this tradition.