Jungoo and Dooah: Work Songs from the Garhwal Himalaya

in Module
Published on: 21 August 2019

Sanyukta Sharma

Sanyukta Sharma is a filmmaker whose work encompasses documentaries, fiction, audio and visual arts. She is particularly interested in understanding the ecological identity of an industrialised individual through the imaginary worlds that envelop private and community life. She has completed a diploma in Film Direction at Film and Television Institute of India in 2014. She is also co-founder of Space–Time Trains, a creative and alternative space for pedagogic practices around filmmaking.

Jungoo and dooah are agricultural folk songs sung by hill folks in the Jaunpur and Jaunsar regions of the Garhwal Himalaya. In a pastoral society where people toiled for hours in faraway woodlands, mostly in solitude, these songs developed as conversational ‘callresponse’ songs with a melody style which helped voice travel far across hills. A community practice, these songs also helped these people entertain themselves, and overcome tiredness, loneliness and fear of wild animals.

With time, both entertainment and modes of communication have changed, and singing aloud is no longer a necessity. Today, with most of the hill population taking up private jobs, the need to collaborate as community has also disappeared. Many pahari language songs of Jaunpur and Jaunsar are now finding popularity in the contemporary music scene. But jungoo and dooah are not songs of devotion or dancing but an oral tradition, and a part of the local subsistence culture. This module is an attempt to identify how these songs supported life in mountain geography. With little research available on jungoo and dooah, this module is largely based on observation and preliminary deductions.