Ghumot, Goa’s indigenous traditional percussion instrument made from an earthen vessel, has been notified as a heritage instrument of Goa.
The instrument was banned due to the use of the skin of the endangered monitor lizard for the drum membrane. In recent years, ghumot makers have started using goat skin instead. A few years ago, a case was made to lift the ban by using permissible material.
The ban is applicable to the use of any animal listed in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, and that the goat is not one of them.
- Also known as Ghumat, Dakki or Budike, it comes in different sizes. The smaller one is generally used as the main accompaniment to the ‘Burrakatha’ a folk, story telling tradition of Andhra Pradesh. The bigger sized drum is performed at religious celebrations in Goa by certain communities.
- The Ghumot is part of religious and folk music of both Hindus and Christians in Goa.
- It is an essential instrument for the Ganesh festival, during arti and in Suvari Vadan orchestra that performs at Goan temples during spring.
- Ghumot is part of the Mando, a musical form of the Goan Catholics that combines elements of both Indian and Western music. It is also part of the Zagor folk dance and Dulpod.
- Ghumot belongs to the membranophone category, which is an earthen vessel. The instrument has two openings. The smaller one at the rear end controls the sound when it is opened and closed alternately by the left hand, while the right hand plays rhythmic patterns. The bigger opening at the head of the instrument, which was once covered with a monitor lizard skin, has now been replaced by a goat’s skin.
- To make the instrument, clay is brought from Paroda (a village in Goa) which is dried and strained. This is used when required.
According to historians, this is an ancient instrument, with a history that is over 1,000 years.
It is a folk instrument of the Konkani people mainly the Siddis, Kudumis and Kharvis.
The Kudumis sing religious songs, accompanied by a smaller-sized Ghumot
The instrument, it is learnt, is also played by members of the Siddhi ethnic group, which has Muslims, Hindus and Christians. The Ghumot is asymbol of Konkani culture and heritage,
In Andra Pradesh, the Ghumot or Gummeta is mainly played during the Burrakatha, a folk art form.
The Burrakatha was used during the Independence movement to arouse nationalist feelings and to spread messages to the people. It is a dying art form now, as is the Ghumot.
Monitor lizards belong to the family Varanidae. All monitors are tropical reptiles. They are active lizards, which may be very hostile, lashing out with their tails upon the slightest provocation. Even a small monitor can produce a stinging lash with its tail. Due to illegal poaching monitor lizards have declined in population through out India. Monitor Lizards are an endangered species today and is listed in Schedule I of Indian Wildlife Act.
Monitor lizards have a long and flattened body (can be upto 1.5 meter long), long tail (1 m), long neck and extermely elongated, slender, forked tongue, similar to that of snakes. The family is of ancient origin (50 million year old). Many species hold their heads erect on their long necks, which gives them the appearance of being alert. They intimidate predators by lashing out with their tails, inflating their throats, hissing loudly, turning sideways, and compressing their bodies. They are mostly terrestrial, but many are agile climbers and good swimmers. Their number is on the decline in the campus mostly due to illegal poaching. People who used to see them earlier report thay have not been seen in the recent years in the campus.