Jungoo and Dooah: Work Songs from Garhwal’s Hillside Forests and Farms

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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 forms of argicultural songs in the Jaunpur and Jaunsar regions of Garhwal, sung by men and women working in farms or forests far from their villages. The songs help communicate, self-entertain and overcome tiredness, loneliness and fear of wild animals.

Jungoo are four-line poems which were sung while alone on an errand. A jungoo heard from far would invite a response. Dooah means couplets. They are sung around other working companions.

These songs deal with simple ideas of life and work that describe surrounding geography, ecology, seasons, festivities, friendships and relationships. Singers create the lyrics impromptu and perform a capella. Jungoo and dooah are not accompanied by dancing. They exist in a synchronous relationship with the agricultural work performed.

Once resonant in the Garhwali forests and farms, jungoo and dooah are now being replaced with music from mobile phones. Changing times and a gradual shift from agriculture to industries have contributed to the current scenario where younger generation of Garhwalis are entirely unaware of them.

All songs have been translated to English by Sanyukta Sharma and Bina Panwar.