(Last Updated on : 07/02/2012)
Vaishnavism was adopted by the Malla Raj and his feudatories of Bankura, Jhargram (Midnapore) and Purulia. Padavali began to spread among the tribal people and they were influenced by their ideas and musical qualities composed a new class of lyric songs in Bengali named jhumur on the basis of their own music, dance and song. Soon it became a class by itself, folk and un-orthodox in character.
The songs were composed by the bi-lingual tribal as well as Bengali speaking local people on the eternal theme of love of Radha
and Lord Krishna
. This formed the background of Chhau dance of Purulia
. Before an item of Chhau dance starts it is introduced by a short vocal music which is known as Jhumur is vitally associated with Chhau dance. Chhau dance in its present form is associated with the introduction of Jhumur songs in this area. Now-a-days no Chhau dance is possible without Jhumur. The people who sing Jhumur during Chhau dance are bi-lingual or they speak Bengali besides their own tribal mother-tongue. Though they cannot speak Bengali properly yet they do not sacrifice this practice of introducing each item of dance by a Jhumur, sung in Bengali folk-style of music. This is one of the folk element's which is attached to Chhau dance of Purulia.
However it is not known whether during the period of patronage of the local feudal chiefs, music in classical style used to be sung at the background of the dance. The Jhumur songs are composed by the members of the scheduled tribes and scheduled castes and at times by Hindus also. Most of the songs are still composed on the love episode of Radha and Krishna. A spirit of sublimity of divine love is maintained in most of the songs composed though they represent a form of folk-songs of Bengal.
Jhumur is also sung in the course of a solo dance performed by a class of professional dancing girls known as nachni or Khemti. Such songs are also based on the divine love of Radha and Krishna and the sublime character of the theme is maintained.