Tarja a kind of folk song in question-and-answer format. It resembles kavigan in presentation but is simpler and shorter than that. The tarja has come down from ancient times but it was made popular by two kaviyals, poets- Madhu Thakur and Tarak Pal - in the first half of the 19th century. It is suggested by some that the word, tarja, is derived from the Arabic tarjiband, meaning the stave of a poem that is repeated. In a tarja performance two groups, each with its kaviyal and his associates, face each other. The session begins with an invocation to the gods, including the goddess of learning, saraswati, followed by a salutation to the audience. The performance is divided into chapan, question, and utor, answer, sessions, with one kaviyal asking a question and the other answering it. From time to time, drums and brass plates are beaten. [Mobarak Hossain Khan]