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Tribute to Ustad Lachchman Singh Seen — a pillar of Punjab gharana

When Ustad Lachchman Singh Seen, a Himachali Rajput, handed away just lately, he was recognized extra with Punjab and the tabla, since he was the final celebrated disciple of Punjab gharana doyen, Ustad Mian Qadir Baksh. Lachchman Singh acquired in depth coaching in Lahore, earlier than returning to his dwelling in Jammu after Partition. Shortly after, Jalandhar turned his dwelling. Though he was primarily often known as an exponent of the tabla, Lachchman Singh had additionally skilled in sitar, in Jammu, and remained deeply related with the instrument, educating on the well-known Hans Raj Mahila Maha Vidyalaya in Jalandhar .

Punjab was a centre of music in these days. Says Purnima Beri, who has been organising the 146-year-old Harivallabh Sangeet Sammelan , “I remember hearing from my father Balbir Singh Mehta, (who was closely associated with music, and both the premier festivals in Punjab, Harivallabh as well as the 107-year-old Lakshminarayan Sabha in Amritsar) that if there was ever a ‘baithak’ anywhere, Lachchman Singh ji would always be invited. His stature in the music world here was unparalleled.”

Lifeline of the gharana

The story behind his honorific title ‘Ustad’ is an uncommon one. According to his son Manu, Mian Qadir Baksh (Lachchman’s guru) started to deal with him as ‘Ustad’ after a much-acclaimed live performance in Kolkata, (maybe within the Forties), the place the viewers hailed his information, with shouts of ‘Jio Punjab’ (lengthy dwell Punjab gharana).” A repository of uncommon compositions of the gharana, Ustad Lachchman Singh beloved educating. Says Pt. Sushil Jain, his seniormost disciple, who started studying from him in 1965, “He was working on a book listing 3,000 rare traditional compositions of his gharana, taught by his guru.”

According to famend Punjab gharana consultant and tabla artiste Pt. Yogesh Samsi, “As Lachchman Singh Seen was the final direct disciple of Mian Qadir Baksh, his passing is a large loss. For me, he was the final hyperlink with my guru’s (Ustad Allah Rakha) era. Every time I went to Punjab, I might attempt to meet him. The first time was in 1993, at his dwelling. He invited me after listening to my solo, and blessed me. Unhone apni taalim bahut bekhubi se qayam rakhi (he nurtured and preserved properly his musical lineage). An period has come to an finish, and our gharana has misplaced its pillar , and the duty is now on our era to preserve the sanskaar and taalim alive.

All of the Ustad’s six kids are related to music — son Kinnar is a musician primarily based within the U.S., son Manu is a well-known sitarist primarily based in Jalandhar. Manu’s son Rishab too performs the sitar, whereas daughter Surpriya performs the santoor. Nephew Avirbhav Varma is one of the best tabla gamers from the area. The musical legacy, which started within the hills of Himachal Pradesh lives on in Punjab.

The Delhi-based writer writes on Hindustani musicians and music.

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