" Suddenly the culture that has been subdued to centuries has relived by the sound of Moghai Oja's Dhol "
The great musician, who is the pioneer in popularizing and immortalizing the Dhol of Assam to the world audience, with his unparalleled beats, was the magician of the Dhol, artist of the mass, Gonoxilpi Moghai Oja.
Moghai Oja was born on 15the March of 1916, at Naoxoliya Village under Hatigarh Mouza of present Jorhat District. His parents were Boparam Barua and Rupti Baruah. Moghai Baruah who lost the swathe of fatherly love and support at the tender age of 5, had to work as a daily majdoor at nearby Chenijaan Tea Estate. At that time, an ambience prevailed in that area, encouraged people to culture the art of playing Dhol. With the money he earned as daily wage, Moghai bought a Dhol, and thus introduced to the world of Music, which finally took him to status of immortal Moghai Oja. Initially he started playing in the marriage ceremonies and different social occasions, soon his art started getting appreciation in the locality. And one fine day he got and invitation to play Dhol at Tezpur, where he met Tea planter Gokul Baruah and arguably the most important person in his life, Hemango Biswas of “Gananatya Xangho” . With encouragement and guidance of Hemango Bishwas, Moghai Oja’s Dhol paved its way to the international acclamation.
Moghai Oja’s talent was first formally recognized in 1954, in a cultural show organized by Gananatya Xongho at Wellington Square in Kolkata. Voice of Dr. Bhupen Hazarika accompanied by Dhol of Moghai Oja raised inquisitiveness among people to see Assam and Assamese culture with a new perspective.
At the sound of Moghai’s Dhol, the cloud roared, the thunder rocked, storms ravaged, or softness of breeze engulfed the audience. The household sparrow tweeted. The shrewd fox in the forest came alive to the spectators when Moghai played.
Moghai was an unparalleled performer, he played Dhol, with his elbow, feet, his thumb, his chin, or even with his nose. His style of playing was totally innovative and kept the audience amused to the level of being spellbound when he occupied the stage. He crafted many original musical pieces such as Doba Ghat, which lifted the art of playing Dhol to a status like never before.
As an artist of the masses, Moghai Oja’s work reflected his social consciousness, the Malitas told the stories of the crisis ridden social composition, and burning issues of the mass. His poems in form of Malita’s touched the inner core of the heart of working class. “Xobdo- Brahma” – the god like sound of Moghai’s Dhol spoke for itself, and led the vast expanse of Assamese folk culture from the fore-front. His Dhol sang the song of harmony, stood in the side of humanity, worshiped the mass, and spreaded out he horizon of Assamese folk culture. He, who searched the essence of life in the soil and water of Assam, in the rage of the nature and in the tweet of the birds, died of a terminal disease on 15th March 1978.
Co-existing with extreme poverty, Moghai Oja, adored life till the last breath. With the intrinsic funny aspect of an Oja, he told the story of impecunious cultivators, the story of harmony and humanity, and the chronicle of our culture. Today, when we recall him with lots of admiration, we realize that he discerned the genuine asset and the true purpose of a life, crafted so many Malitas, bestowed Assamese folk the much needed exposure in the national and international level. Unfortunately we are now deprived of the privilege to hear him playing, lot of his creations disappeared to oblivion.
The biggest asset of Moghai Oja was the love for his own soil, and his firm belief in it’s cultural affluence. With a lot of pride and confidence he showed the world, the uniqueness and unrivaled assets of Assamese culture. The same pride and confidence is also the prime stimulus of www.anvesha.co.in .
We are offering our salutation to that immortal soul, the brave soldier of our cultural existence, by dedicating this website to him. He should and will remain among us and lead the path of conquest of Assamese folk culture, with the spirit he had shown, with the genius he possessed. We dedicate www.anvesha.co.in to that eternal soul.
" Mor Kandhot Dholar Boja, Moke koi Moghai Oja "
(I carry the weight of the Dhol on my shoulders, and they call me Moghai Oja)