Buddhi Man Dura, also known as Dhampu, is a traditional folk singer of Nepal. He has been singing rare traditional folk songs, sung in Lamjung and the surrounding districts. This traditional folk songs are called Thado Bhaka in Nepali language. Thado Bhaka was popularized by Deu Bahadur Dura in the western part of Nepal.
In fact, Deu Bahadur Dura was an eminent person of Lamjung district at that time. He was born in Karaputar, Lamjung district, and died at the age of 73. Generally, Thado Bhaka is sung on occasions and festivals in different parts of Nepal, especially in Lamjung district.
History of Thado Bhaka
Once, Thado Bhaka was sung at the birth ceremony of King Tribhuwan by Deu Bahar Dura and his friends during the reign of Shah dynasty. Therefore, pleased by the song, Deu Bahadur Dura was rewarded by King Prithvi Bir Bikram Shah with the silver ornaments.
Moreover, in the memory of Deu Bahadur Dura, people of Dura society have established a museum named Deu Bahadur Dura Sangralaya in Hadi Khola, Bardan Dada, in Lamjung district. Various programs are organized in the museum on different occasions every year.
Buddhi Man Dura was born in Dura Dada, (Thulosaraa) a typical village in Lamjung district. He is now living in Naya Gaun, ward-15, Pokhara. Dhampu had been interested in music since his childhood and had been learning from his elders, since the age of eight.
Later on, at the age of fifteen, he began to sing on the occasions in villages. Buddhi Man Dura is also known as Buddhi Man Gurung, because he had given his caste as Gurung, while recruiting in the army.
Buddhi Man Dura has been playing a vital role in the preservation of traditional Nepali folk music. An organization called Rastriya Lok Tatha Dohori Geet Pratisthan, was established in the year 2052 B.S. Many Nepali folk singers, including Dhampu were associated with the association. The main aim of the association is to preserve Nepali old traditional folk songs that are in level of extinct. And also promoting newcomers in the traditional music.
According to Dhampu, once he had gone to a village on some occasion. He wanted to sing but could not find a single person who could play a madal (Nepali folk musical instrument). He says that, new technology and new instruments have taken over the old tradition and cultures these days.
Buddhi Man says that traditional Nepali folk songs should be protected as they are becoming rare. However, it is difficult to find in the new generation. According to him, Uttam Gurung of Bandipur, is the only person in the new generation, associated with traditional Nepali folk songs.
He also adds, “There are several traditional Nepali folk singers, however they are not getting an opportunity. Therefore, the association is working for the promotion of such singers these days”.
Buddhi Man Dura has two sons and three daughters. He lost his father at the age of 12 and now lives with his surrogate father, John Philip Cross aka J.P. Cross, a former British Army colonel.
In fact, J.P. Cross is one of the few foreigners to be granted Nepali citizenship by the late King Birendra Bir Bikram Shah. However, it took him more than 32 years to obtain the citizenship. Well, they met eachother in Paklihawa British Camp, while J.P. Cross was at the age of 52.
In 2014, Buddhi Man Dura and Minu Maya Gurung of Dura Dada, have released a live recording of Thado Bhaka with their respective teams. It was recorded by Namaste Pokhara and Digital Recording Studio along with Parampara Film Production in Lamjung.
The song describes about the cultures of the Dura society and the old days of the village life. Moreover, it was a tribute to Deu Bahadur Dura as well. Nowadays, Buddhi Man Dura is often seen performing in different places on various occasions and in some Television programs as well.