Meet the Women Leading the Dhol Pathaks in Mumbai

Think only a man can play the Dhol? These women are here to prove you wrong.

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Dhol Pathak groups play a major role in lending the famous 11-day Ganpati festival in India a festive fervour. Most Ganpati Pandals boast of a different group of Dhol Pathak representing them. The sound of the Dhol and Tasha reverberates through the city.

Dhol Pathak groups, till about 10 years ago, were predominantly associated with men. All the performers in the groups were commonly men, until recently. Women have now even started leading these processions.

The Quint caught up with a Dhol Pathak group in Mumbai which is made up of 60 women.

Asmi Amit Tawde, a 12-year-old, one of the youngest performers in her group has been performing for over two years. She has managed to maintain a balance between school and her dhol practices and performances. Her mother who works in the Indian Navy and father, who is an electronic engineer in Dubai are completely supportive of her interests in playing the dhol and feel very proud of their daughter.

Apurva Rohan Gawde in her late 30’s has been performing for more than 3 years. Her family has continuously encouraged her to pursue her passion. In fact after she got married she convinced her husband to start playing in the group and today they both perform in the group together.

Hema Ravi, a 50-year-old dhol enthusiast used to be a software programmer until she left everything to become a Yoga instructor. This senior lady of the group brings in the most amount of energy during the performances. Hema Jii advises women to stop watching daily soaps and instead get out and be part of creative groups like these.

The members of Dhol Pathaks belong to different sects and age-groups.

Concept: Divya Talwar
Camera: Sanjoy Deb
Editor: Ashish Macune
Assistant Camera: Gautam Sharma
Producer: Bilal Jaleel

(The story is from The Quint's archives and has been republished on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi)

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