Jugnoo Media launches Duddoo Aur Dhobi – an app for South Asian toddlers
It is such a delight to see that local companies are actually beginning to develop interesting and engaging content in local languages for kids. We have seen how popular Toffee TV has become since it was first launched and now a new company – Jugnoo Media has launched a fabulous mobile App for the iPhone and iPad. We are told that they are also working on an Android version which will be out soon.
Duddoo Aur Dhobi, as it is called, is based on two popular Urdu nursery rhymes “O Baba duddoo’a” and “Dhobi aaya”. It is an app that provides a highly interactive and immersive environment for children. The app has lyrics and characters based on South Asian themes, heroes, stories and traditions thus providing context.
I first caught sight of it when one of the founders of Jugnoo Media, Zia Imran, sneaked it into the home of our mutual friend Zafar Khan, CEO of Sofizar one evening. Zafar’s young son Zacky was hanging around the living room and Imran took out his iPad and started playing with the app which was still in beta mode. His intention was to get Zacky to test it out for free (Zafar, please note: your son was deprived of a beta testing fee).
The little one took hold of the iPad and start playing very intuitively with the application and was totally engrossed in it the entire evening. He showed it to his mom and his dad and there was no question about how much he loved the app. All of us knew that it would be a hit. I convinced Imran to load it onto my iPad mini the next day and have been playing it myself whenever I get a chance.
Going through Facebook statuses of friends one day, I noticed the following message put up by Sadia Khan who is COO of Autosoft Dynamics:
Raem and Anya’s latest favorite song and app on the ipad – Urdu based nursery rhyme, Duddoo aur Dhobi! Check it out friends and family. Its been made by a Pakistani company and I give it top marks on engaging kids. Both of my kids for the first time in a long while want to play with the same app. I have even caught myself unwittingly humming the duddoo and dhobi song – do check it out and let me know what you all think!! P.s. its free for now so I’d download before they start charging!!!
So it is not only kids but also their parents who are really taken with this app.
Jugnoo Media’s mission is to create wholesome entertainment and educational content for kids of all ages (I guess that means I am included too). This is good news for South Asian parents who think there is a dearth of good localized content available in electronic format.
Jugnoo means ‘Firefly’ in Urdu, Hindi and other regional languages of South Asia. The venture is named Jugnoo Media because the founders were simply enthralled by the vast presence of this small insect while growing up. They say that in the old days, it was the norm for young children to run after these beautiful insects and attempt to catch them. Some would put them in glass bottles to make lanterns. In today’s day and age, this beautiful and fragile insect is under severe threat. As cities become large, paved and cemented with less and less natural habitat, the jugnoo has virtually disappeared from large cities of South Asia.
Local culture, heritage and languages are on the defensive; being squeezed out by the massive global culture which emphasizes cultural homogenity at the expense of cultural diversity. It tends to be more material than spiritual and is devoid of local context. Jugnoo Media wants to change that. Its first project is to build immersive digital toys in local languages that are based on popular nursery rhymes of the region. Good luck guys! We look forward to seeing more apps/games/stories coming out of the Jugnoo Media stable (or should that be ‘garage’)?