Tripura’s Last Rosem Player, Padma Shri Thanga Darlong Passed Away At 103!

The last rosem player of Tripura, Padma Shri Thanga Darlong passed away at 103 after being hospitalised for over two weeks!

by Shreya Rathod
Tripura’s Last Rosem Player, Padma Shri Thanga Darlong Passed Away At 103!

Keeping the indigenous music of Tripura alive, Padma Shri Thanga Darlong was the last rosem maestro. Sadly, he passed away at 103 after being hospitalised due to old-age ailments. He was Tripura’s pride as he was the last person who knew how to play rosem. Further, he was the only person keeping the dying art alive!

Tripura’s Rosem Player, Padma Shri Thanga Darlong Passed Away At 103!

Sunday saw the passing of renowned tribal musician Padma Shri Thanga Darlong at his home in the Unakoti district of the state. At 103 years old, he was the last person to play the Tripuran rosem, an indigenous tribal instrument. On November 15, Darlong was admitted to Unakoti District Hospital due to his age-related illnesses.

Tripura Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha expressed his condolences and shared a post on X (formerly, Twitter). It stated that he was deeply saddened by the passing away of Tripura’s renowned last rosem player. An unfillable vacuum has been left in the state’s cultural landscape following his death. He further expressed his condolences to everyone who has lost this jewel of a person. He prayed to God to grant serenity to the departed soul and asked for strength to cope with the loss.

Known as one of the most skilled players of the rosem, an indigenous musical instrument that resembles a bamboo flute, Thanga Darlong received the Padma Shri in 2019 in recognition of his contribution to flute-based music.

Thanga Darlong was born on July 20, 1920, in the village of Muruai, Tripura. His father, Hakvunga Darlong, provided him with his early training in folk music. Later, music teacher Darthuama Darlong trained and instructed him in the subtleties of playing the rosem, the traditional musical instrument of the Darlong community.

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He Kept The Art Alive

Since he was a young child, Thanga Darlong has participated in many of his community’s traditional events and taught several young indigenous people how to play the rosem. In addition, he had made numerous trips outside of Japan and throughout India to perform on the rosem.

Nevertheless, traditional art and cultural forms are all but extinct in Tripura due to the introduction of contemporary musical instruments and the spread of digital music throughout the state’s villages. According to experts, Thanga Darlong was the last person to play the rosem.

In 2014, Thanga Darlong received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in recognition of his efforts to preserve indigenous music in Northeast India. Additionally, he was included in the 2016 National Award winner Joshy Joseph’s film Tree of Tongues in Tripura.

Tripura Music:

The indigenous music in Tripura is a diverse range of folk music. Around 1979, Hemanta Jamatia, a musician, rose to prominence as the musical spokesman of an organisation. Later on, he gave up and went back to living a regular life, dedicating his work to the Tripuri people’s folk music.

He received the highest accolade in the music industry from the Sangeet Natak Academy of the Government of India in appreciation of his contributions to folk and contemporary music in the Tripuri language.

Also Read: Seeking A North East Hidden Gem In 2023? Head To Montang In Tripura!

We pray for the great musician’s soul to rest in peace. Comment below and tell us if you have ever listened to Tripura’s tribal music.

Cover Image Courtesy: Biplab Kumar Deb/ X (Formerly, Twitter)

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