Sacred Ethnomusicology and Religious Music Practices in Uttarakhand Himalayas: Shaping Social Spaces of Identity, Belongingness, and Community Caste Roles


Ethnomusicology reflects different aspects of traditions, customs-rituals, aspirations, and values linked to various dimensions of the socio-cultural life of humans in musical tradition. Among these, folk music is one of the most effective ways of touching people’s subconsciousness. The Uttarakhand Himalayas is a region with a consensus in its ethnocultural forms despite physical and social variations. The state includes various folk songs, including Jaagar Geet, Maangal, Heroic ballads, the rite of passage songs, Occupationally based folk songs, Season-related songs, etc. Jaagar songs include proverbial cosmic tales, heroic ballads, mythological tales, and love songs. It is considered literature whose poetry addresses deities and unsatisfied souls on the earth. It is a Vedic and cosmic ritual that honors subtle souls on earth. However, the most significant feature of Jaagar folk songs is that the rhythms of specific musical instruments are used according to their context. While litterateurs keep songs, ballads, mantras, and tantra material as a group, music experts accept Jaagar as the music of the supernatural world. The current paper investigates the patterns and processes of sacred and religious music practices, particularly Jaagar folk songs. It also looks at how Jaagar and ritual singing, as oral traditions of a people, contribute to the social construction of identity and caste roles. Furthermore, the research investigates the roles of sacred music traditions in shaping community togetherness and belongingness through personal interviews and exploration of Jaagar and related events using theoretical, ethnographic, processual, and linguistic approaches.


Pankaj Rawat
Doctoral Researcher, Department of Geography, Faculty of Sciences, Jamia Millia Islamia (A Central University), Delhi, India


Presentation Type

Paper Presentation in a Themed Session


Religious Community and Socialization


Religious Practice, Sacred Music Traditions, Jaagar, Uttarakhand Himalayas, Spiritual Space

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