Dohra (Punjabi: ਦੋਹਰਾ) is a form of self-contained rhyming couplet in poetry. The composition is used in Sikh scriptures to break longer composition in other metres; so generally it appears as a salok commonly near the beginning and at end of a long compilation.
In the Benti Chaupai composition from the Dasam Granth, the final section of the Bani ends main body of the composition with a dohra and other variations in the metre used. Below is the dohra found in this famous compilation believed to be by Guru Gobind Singh:
Dohra in Benti Chaupai
ਸਗਲ ਦਆਰ ਕੋ ਛਾਡਿ ਕੈ ਗਹਿਯੋ ਤਹਾਰੋ ਦਆਰ ॥
O Lord ! I have forsaken all other doors and have caught hold of only Thy door.
Doha in Urdu and Hindi literature
This genre of poetry first became common in Apabhramsha and was commonly used in Hindi and Urdu poetry.
Among the most famous dohas are those of Sarahpa, Kabir, Rahim, Tulsidas, Jamiluddin Aali and Surdas.
Doha is identified by a syllable count 13/11 or 11/13, counted with a value of 1 in case of Hrasva(Short sounding letter) and 2 in case of Dhirga(long sounding letter)
Here is a doha by Rahim:
जो रहीम उतढ़तम पढ़रकृति, का कर सकत कढ़संग |
2 121 121 111/ 2 11 111 112 ==> 13/11
चनढ़दन विष वढ़यापत नहीं, लपटे रहत भढ़जंग ||
211 11 1211 12/ 112 111 112 ==> 13/11
Says Rahim, one who is of inherently noble nature, will remain unaffected even when he associates with bad people. The sandalwood plant does not absorb poison when the snakes wind around it.
Many Hindi poets have created several books which explain whole stories and epics in the form of dohas. The most popular is Tulasidas' Ramcharitmanas, a popular rendition of the Sanskrit epic, Ramayana.