Śrī Durgāpūjā is one of the major festivals of the Hindus celebrated on a grand scale in Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Assam. Beautiful clay images are ceremonially installed during the period of nine days (1st to 9th in the month of Āśvina, śuklapakṣa or bright half) (October) and elaborate worship performed. ‘Āgamanī’ is the name given to a particular type of songs generally sung on this occasion as part of the ‘Kālīkīrtan’ programmes.
Śrī Durgā is actually Pārvatī or Umā, the beloved daughter of queen Menā and king Girirāja (the king of Himālayas), given in marriage to Lord Śiva. It is long since the daughter has visited the house of her parents. The parents, especially the mother Menā, are anxious about her welfare since rumours have reached their ears that their daughter is languishing in her husband’s house owing to his poverty and queer ways of life. The Āgamanī songs depict their concern and anxiety for their daughter and anger towards their son-in-law. They are full of tenderness of the mother’s love for the daughter. Solicitude for the welfare of Umā, disgust with Śiva’s way of life—especially his living in the cremation grounds, besmearing his body with ashes and begging his food—consequent anger expressing itself in a resolve not to send her back to her husband’s house and even a grim determination to fight a wordy duel with him if he presses for her return—these are some of the sentiments frequently found in these songs. Rāmprasād, Kamalākānta and Dāśarathi are some of the well-known mystic poets who have composed these songs.