Western Odisha’s Folk Dance ‘Dalkhai’ During Durga Puja Reverberates Rural Ambience

Bargarh: Folklore, folk song and folk dance are a part and parcel of our Indian rural lifestyle for ages that vary from states to states and region to region. Nevertheless, they speak the language of heart, love and camaraderie amid the everyday din and bustle of our mundane world.

Needless to mention that western Odisha’s folk songs and varied folk dances have a kaleidoscopic flavour that is popular worldwide as Sambalpuri song and dances. One of such pretty old dance items is Dalkhai apart from others like ‘Rasarkeli’, ‘Humabouli’, Mailajada, et al.

Barring a few troupes, who have been active in keeping the age-old tradition alive, the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings, as used to be earlier among the rural folk especially among the women and girls, raw and natural Dalkhai dance has virtually gone into oblivion.

Notwithstanding that, the women of nondescript Bheluapadar village under Gaislet block of this district have been trying their level best to revive the traditional folk dance form of Dalkhai.

On the auspicious occasion of ‘Bhaijuintia’, a special festival for the sisters of a family who observe stern fasting invoking Maa Durga’s blessings for the well-being of their brothers, they tap their legs to this dance tune of Dalkhai the very next day after breaking the religious fasting.

But, today such a custom has become obscure and outdated. Kudos to the women of Bheluapadar village for their solemn pledge to resurrect the literally dead Dalkhai.
In her reactions, Sukanti Tandi said, “Our past generation used to dance Dalkhai during the Durga Puja, mainly on the occasion of Bhaijuintia on sacred Durga Ashtami and the following day. In a bid to keep alive the Dalkhai tradition, we the women of our Bheluapadar village have formed this institution here. Earlier, our women and girls weren’t allowed by our conservative families. Today also some of the families still debar their women and girls.”

But, it’s an art form,” she strongly advocated arguing, “Dalkhai, Rasarkeli, Mailajada are each an art form. One who is blessed with this latent talent can’t hide it for long. It would get exposed at any cost. Hence, we all discussed among us and formed this Dalkhai Anusthan (club). We pray Maa Durga to bless our efforts with long life and bright future.”

Sukanti Tandi