Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Damphu Saanjh, 2010

Damphu Saanjh 2010 New York,USA

After it’s establishment in 2001 by a handful of enthusiastic Tamangs living in New York, Tamang Society of America has grown into a full-fledged not-for-profit organization over the years. With the sole intention of preserving Tamang culture, heritage, and religion Tamang Society of America (TSA) have been organizing various cultural, social and sportive functions/events to bring together Tamangs inhabiting mainly in New York and vicinity.

One of the indigenous inhabitants of Nepal who are mainly distributed across Himalayan regions, Tamangs are deemed as brave, honest and diligent group of Nepali people who has a long and tortured history of oppression and discrimination in the hands of the then ruling body consisting mainly of Brahmin and Chhetri castes, the disheartening aftermath of class system. They were refrained from actively participating in the mainstream social life only because they were given the lower strata of social class system by the then ruling system. They were deprived of the opportunity for formal education as well, owing to which they were forced to leave their homeland and wander away in search of work mainly to the neighboring cities of India.

Despite their not very glorious background, Tamangs have come a long way in the present day to become a very self-sufficient and independent group of people who has fared very well, especially in the foreign-lands, where their honesty, bravery and diligent temperament have carve them a consistent niche. Tamang Society of America (TSA) is one of the many such examples of their integrity.

Over the years TSA have touched the lives of Tamangs living in New York in one way or another. It’s effort have culminated into a very large membership in the Society and it has encouraged other Tamangs residing in the other parts of USA like Boston, Washington DC, Virginia, Texas, Connecticut, Montana, Georgia, Pennsylvania, California and even in some parts of Canada. Their original cultural program ‘Damphu Saanjh’ organized every two years during the time of Tamang New Year has become a well-expected event for all the Tamangs living in the USA.

Damphu is traditional Tamang drum. In tune with Tungna, accompanying string musical instrument, Tamangs perform their beloved Tamang Sello, their most original dance. Dampu Saanjh is maily nomenclature to denote that the Evening (Saanjh) with Damphu (the Tamangs traditional drum), or in other words the evening of merriment and joy.

This years Damphu Saanjh was organized by Tamang Society of America on the inevitably freezing night of 6th of February – sorry, we can’t guarantee weather kind of dilemma. However, the venue, Dhaka Club in Woodside, Queens was brimming to the fullest. No one announced but it was like ‘early bird gets the best worms (in this case seats)’ kind of situation. People were standing even to the far end of the hall. And the best part of it was; everybody seemed to be enjoying.

After the customary introduction and individual speech of Board Members and presiding special guest and present other guests, Damphu Saanjh kicked off with songs from our heartthrob singers duo Prem Lopchan and Roj Moktan. Tamang Society of America specially invited them from Nepal for this program. Audiences were dancing in the tunes of their jolly songs and some sad songs, especially sang by Prem Lopchan some audiences were even shedding tears, reminiscent of their beloved ones back home in Nepal. In the same manner, as his approach towards audience would tell, Roj Mokatan, more audience singer, was making everybody come near the stage and dance. In all it was an unforgettable night.

Local Tamang kids did very well in their presentation of Tamang dances. Asmita Lama, Sabita Lama, Aayushma Lama, Zina Tamang, Alishesh Rai, Rhea Tamang performed a delightful dance in tunes of ubho, ubho lagyo. Ashish Lama, Siddhartha Tamang, Roshna Moktan, Dolma Lama presented another dance in tunes of amoil – a Tamang song. Alfa Lama, Sweta Lama (winner of teen beauty contest in Boston), Jenny Tamang and Nisha Gurung from Boston presented wonderful dance in tune of Nepali-mix number. Also Ashish Moktan, Anish Moktan along with Zina Tamang and Sabita Lama came up with another jolly dance number pani ma khane supari dana.

However, most memorable is Jeny Yonjon from Connecticut. This plump little girl won the hearts of the audience by her solo dance in tunes of tikuli hai. She was so lovely and pert in her dance movements that looking at her was kind of melody in itself.

At the later end of the program the melee changed dramatically. Phiroj Syangden took over the stage with his hard rock outfit, strumming his electric guitar accompanying thrumming of virtuoso drumming. Youngsters and even not so young audience enjoyed his Nepali rock songs very much. As Phiroj Syangden was already very popular through his rock band 1974 A.D. he pulled a real crowd at the end of the program and everybody seemed to enjoy his songs very much.

This year’s Damphu Saanjh has some other unprecedented highlights as well. Never before in the history (even if short) Tamang Society of America, had any high ranking US official was invited or never before any Nepali singers invited from Nepal for specific Tamang Society of America programs had ever been granted visa to enter USA for their performances.

President of Tamang Society of America, Mr. Indra Tamang seems very proud and contented and must have felt very useful to have accomplished all this during his tenure. During his tenure, Mr. John Liu, New York City Comptroller and Mr. Daniel Dromm, Council Member, Jackson Heights were present in the Damphu Saanjh program. They addressed the audience with words of encouragements and thankfulness to have been invited thus. Hopefully, this trend will be carried on during the presidency of upcoming presidents of Tamang Society of America as well because it is a very wise and brave step from Mr. Indra Tamang in introducing Tamang Society of America to America itself. Presumably, it might open new doors for the future of Tamang Society of America in USA.

Many members and sympathetic individuals who helped selflessly to bring about Damphu Saanjh were duly award that night through the hands of His Excellency Ambassador Mr. Gyan Chandra Acharya.

In all Damphu Saanjh 2010 was a great success! by Kiran Singh

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