Damaha’s decline worries Bajura locals

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By Sher Bahadur Sarki,Bajura, Dec. 5: The Damaha drum, which used to be played in villages and cities across Bajura, has started disappearing.

Lack of interest among youths, and growing preference for and availability of western musical instruments has pushed the Damaha, once a must-play at weddings, festivals and Puja ceremonies, out of favour, locals said.

Padam Budha, a resident of Triveni Municipality-8, said that although the drum still held traditional significance, the younger generation did not display much interest in bringing it into practical use.

"The Damaha is part of our culture. It must be preserved or else, we may lose it forever,” said Badure Nepali, a local of Budhiganga Muncipality-2. 

Nepali suggested that fairs and festivals related to local art, culture and music could be organised from time to time to familiarise youngsters with the instrument.

Damaha is a traditional Nepali drum made of leather, and brass or wood. It is played with sticks.

The drum has a strap that the player can put around his/her neck to hold it up while playing. It is also a part of the Panche Baja group of musical instruments. Members of the Damai or Nepali caste group traditionally play the Damaha.

In Bajura, the drum used to be played to welcome high-ranking persons when they arrived in the district.

Tula Ram Nepali of Budhiganga Municipality worried that Damaha was on the verge of extinction, at least in part due to a failure to motivate newer generations for its adoption. He opined, "Traditional instruments and dances should be encouraged by organising fairs and festivals that reflect local art and culture."

Meanwhile, Karna Bahadur Thapa, mayor of Triveni Municipality, assured that the local government would invest in the protection of the drum, which has been used in various festivals in Bajura since time immemorial.

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