History and Origin of Thumri In English

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History and Origin of Thumri

History –

(1). Thumri is a vocal style or style of Indian music. The word “thumri” is derived from the Hindi thumkna, meaning “to walk with dance moves that ring ankle-bells.” Thus, the form is associated with dance, dramatic gestures, mild eroticism, suggestive love poetry and folk songs, particularly from Uttar Pradesh, although there are regional variations.

(2).The text is of romantic or devotional nature, the lyrics are usually in the Uttar Pradesh dialects of Hindi called Awadhi and Brij Bhasha. Thumri is characterized by its sensuality and greater flexibility with the raag.


(1). Thumri is also used as a generic name for a few others, even forms like Halka, Dadra, Hori, Kajri, Savani, Jhula and Chaiti, even though each of them has its own structure and content—either lyrical or musical or both—and hence the interpretation of these forms varies. Like Indian classical music, some of these forms have their origins in folk literature and music.


(1). For example, a thumri has two parts, permanent and antara. It supports taals like Deepchandi, Rupak, Aadha and Punjabi. These talas are characterized by a particular inclination, which is almost absent in the talas used in khayal.

(2). Thumri compositions are mostly in raga-s like Kafi, Khamaj, Jogia, Bhairavi, Peelu and Pahari.

(3). A common feature of these and other such ragas is that they allow free movement to the performer, as they do not depend for their identity on rigidly drawn tonal sequences, regardless of the compositions involved. Are.

(4).In fact, one might say that there is an in-built provision for mixing raga-s in them or for taking them out of the raga actually presented in order to add color to the proceedings.


(1). The exact origin of the thumri is not very clear, given that there is no historical reference to such a form until the 15th century.

(2). The first mention of Thumri is associated with the classical dance form Kathak in the 19th century. It was the thumri or bol-bunt of Bandish and it was mostly developed in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah in Lucknow. At that time it was a song sung by tawaifs or courtesans.

(3). According to historical records, a new version of thumri emerged in the late 19th century, which was independent of dance, and much slower. This form was called bol-banav and it developed in Varanasi.

Renowned Thumri Artist

Purab ang

(1). Among the famous artists of Banaras Gharana or Banaras Gayaki’s ‘East Ang’ Thumri’ –

  • Rasool Bai
  • Siddheshwari Devi
  • Girija Devi
  • Mahadev Prasad Mishra
  • Channulal Mishra

Some other singers of Thumri –

  • Gauhar Jaan
  • Begum Akhtar
  • Shobha Gurtu
  • Noorjahan
  • Nirmala Devi

Classical Thumri

(1). Some Khayal singers took interest in Thumri and sang it in their own way, like –

  • Abdul Karim Khan
  • Fayaz Khan
  • Bade Ghulam Ali Khan
  • Bhimsen Joshi
  • Madhav Gudi
  • Rajan and Sajan Mishra
  • Barkat Ali Khan
  • Jagdish Prasad
  • Prabha Atre.

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