Jhumur is the traditional folk song-and-dance form of the tea tribes of Assam.
In Assam the scientific way of tea plantation started in the year 1837 AD with the Brithish East India Company setting up tea plantations. A large labour force was required to work in the tea gardens. The local people of Assam were reluctant to work in the tea gardens, leaving their traditional farming ways. This necessitated the import of labour from other regions of the Country. The agents entrusted by the companies found and brought large groups of people of different ethnicities from the Central and Eastern regions of the Country; mainly from the present day states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal.
As time progressed, these people who came to work as tea garden labourers, accepted Assam as their motherland and got assimilated in the mainstream Assamese population. Along with them, their traditional cultural identities also became an inseparable part of the Assamese culture and way of life. Today, their colloquial language, their songs and dances have created a mixed language. Their way of life and occupation have now given them a new identity as the Tea Tribes of Assam and in many regions of the state they are also referred to as Adivasis.
Though Jhumuir is the main song and dance form of the Tea Tribes of Assam, it has different forms woven into it. The word Jhumuir literally means dancing in a group by holding one another’s hand. Integration of Jhumuir dance and song has now glorified the Assamese culture to a great extent.
Jhumur is therefore the vehicle for the Tea Tribes for a spontaneous outflow of their feelings—personal, social, natural, love, joy, sorrow, fun and frolicking and emotions at all stages of life. It is the song of their hearts, from their souls and the song of their lives.