Drum Beats (Dhak)
The drum-beats are an integral part of the Durga Puja. This special variety of the drum, known as 'Dhak,' enthralls the hearts of the Calcutta with its majestic rhythm right from the day of 'Sasthi.' This drum is held on the shoulder with the beating side in the bottom and is beaten with two sticks, one thick and another thin. Ninety Nine percent of the people who plays these dhaks are from outside Calcutta. Round the year, most of them earn their livelyhood by working as labourers in paddy fields. However, as 'Sasthi' comes by, the 'Dhaki's, as they are called in Bengali, starts gathering in places adjacent to the different railway stations in and around Calcutta. They are picked from there by the Puja organisers and are contracted for the four days of Puja. Nowadays, with the advent of the electronic gadgets and electric music, the 'Dhaki's have lost their importance in the city pujas. In many cases, the absence of a Dhaki is made up by playing pre-recorded cassettes through loud speakers. Only in those Pujas, where authenticity has been the motto of the organisers, the Dhakis and their Dhaks are given the due importance.