Performance and Themes of Tarja
The themes of Tarja contest are usually taken from Mahabharata and Ramayana or Purana. The poets sing her/ his part in the form of doggerels and the other participant has to guess the meaning of it.
During the rise of the population of bhadraloks of the Bengal renaissance, many of these clubs as well as jhumur clubs had been destroyed on the basis of its obscene content.
An example of a tarja couplet will be like: Maagi minsheke chit kore fele diye buke diyechhe paa Aar chokhta kare jhulur jhulur, mukhe neiko raa
Literally, this translates to "the hussy has thrown the bloke flat on his back, with her foot on his chest/ wordless she stands glaring in anger". The answer to this puzzle will be the Goddess Kali and the legend connected to her. The answerer to this will also sing out his/her answer in a poem made at that instant of time.
Tarja as an Art Form
The music grown out of this poetry contest has a particular flavour in it. It is also highly connected to the other similar forms like jhumur, tappa and has contributed to a degree to the music of Bengal.
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