Traditional Folk Music from Sindh Broadcast on 29.11.2010
from the home of Saxonian Folkways
Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the “Mehran” . Sindhi Muslims are the largest population in the province, but other cultural, religious and ethnic groups also reside in Sindh. The neighboring regions of Sindh are Balochistan to the west and north, Punjab to the north, Gujarat and Rajasthan to the southeast and east, and the Arabian Sea to the south. The main language spoken is Sindhi. The name is derived from the Indus River that courses through it, and was known to the Assyrians (as early as the seventh century BCE) as Sinda, to the Greeks as Sinthus, to the Romans as Sindus, to the Persians as Abisind, to the Arabs as Al-Sind, and to the Chinese as Sintow. To the Javanese the Sindhis have long been known as the Santri.
The Indus Valley civilization is the farthest visible outpost of archaeology in the abyss of prehistoric times. The prehistoric site of Kot Diji in Sindh has furnished information of high significance for the reconstruction of a connected story which pushes back the history of South Asia by at least another 200 years, from about 2500 BC. Evidence of a new element of pre-Harappan culture has been traced here. When the primitive village communities in Balochistan were still struggling against a difficult highland environment, a highly cultured people were trying to assert themselves at Kot Diji one of the most developed urban civilization of the ancient world that flourished between the year 25th century BC and 1500 BC in the Indus valley sites of Moenjodaro and Harappa. The people were endowed with a high standard of art and craftsmanship and well-developed system of quasi-pictographic writing which despite ceaseless efforts still remains un-deciphered. The remarkable ruins of the beautifully planned Moenjodaro and Harappa towns, the brick buildings of the common people, roads, public baths and the covered drainage system envisage the life of a community living in a highly organized manner.
This civilisation is now identified as a possible pre-Aryan civilisation and most probably an indigenous civilization which met its downfall around the year 1700 BC. The collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization is still a hotly debated topic, and was probably caused by a massive earthquake, which dried up the Ghaggar River.
The capital of Sindh is Karachi. Sindh has a population of 30 million people and an area of 54,407 mi² or (140,914 km²); in terms of area the provincial region of SINDH is greater in area than Greece but smaller than Tajikistan. The southern boundary with the Indian state of Gujarat is contested, the Kori Creek was considered as part of the region during the British India era, today it is part of the ongoing dispute of the Rann of Kachchh since the 1965 war.
Sindh (Sind) is officially one of the provinces of Pakistan. Sindh was home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations, the Indus Valley Civilization which is 5,500 years old. Hind is the corruption word for Sind.
Music from Sindh province is sung in Sindhi, and is generally performed in either the “Baits” or “Waee” styles. The Baits style is vocal music in Sanhoon (low voice) or Graham (high voice). Waee instrumental music is performed in a variety of ways using a string instrument. Waee, also known as Kafi, is found in the surrounding areas of Balochistan, Punjab, and Kutch.
Shah Jo Raag
The traditional compilations of Shah Jo Risalo by Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai include 30 Surs (chapters) which are sung as raags. The oldest publications of Shah Jo Risalo contained some 36 Surs, but later most of the linguists discarded 6 Surs, as their language and content did not match with the Shah’s style. Recently, Dr. Nabi Bakhsh Baloch, the most renowned linguist of Sindhi language has compiled and printed a new edition after 32 years of research in folk culture, language and history of Sindhi language.
The traditional 30 Surs included in Shah Jo Risalo are:
* Yaman Kalyaan
* Suri Raag
* Sasui Aburi
* Laila Chanesar
* Mumal Ranu
* Barwo Sindhi
Instruments used in Sindhi Music
Common instruments used in Sindhi regional music include:
* Ektara known as Yaktaro in Sindhi
* Tanpura known as Danburo in Sindhi
* Alghoza Flute
* Pungi known as Been in Sindhi
Shah Inat Rizvi
(Sindhi: شاه عنایت اللہ ) (c. 1613 – c. 1701),
Shah Inayat or Inat, was a 17th-century Sindhi Sufi Poet from Nasarpur, Sindh, Pakistan.
He belonged to a branch of the Rizvi Syed family, which originated from Bukkur in Sindh province. Some time during the 14th–16th centuries, Ïnayatullah’s ancestors settled at Nasarpur, in the present Hyderabad District. His father, Shah Nasruddin, was a respectable religious man who in his advanced age left the Suhrawardiyyah order of Sufis, to which the Rizvi Syeds traditionally belonged, to became a follower of Shah Khairuddin of Sukkur. According to family tradition, it was due to the blessings of Shah Khairuddin that Shah Ïnayatullah was born to Shah Nasruddin when he was at an advanced age. The birth date of the poet is not recorded, but it may be inferred that he was born during the decade of the saint’s death (between 1613–1623).
In accordance with the family tradition of the Syeds in Sindh, Shah Ïnayatullah would have received his basic education in a local madrasah, but internal evidence from his poetry shows his advanced knowledge of Persian, Arabic and Islamic philosophy. Additionally, there is ample proof of his intimate knowledge of music, the Sufi saints, the life of villagers in Sindh and their folk-ways and folk-tales, and of various places, particularly in the Sindh region and the adjoining country of Kutch. He seems to have travelled far and wide in these areas
Shah Ïnayatullah was a classical poet in as much as he used the classical Sindhi idiom and employed the classical forms of Sindhi bait and waee or kafi in his poetry. Yet he heralded a new era in the domain of Sindhi poetry by combining the poetic contents of the age-old bardic tradition and the more cultivated spiritual thought of the Sufi-saint poets. Prior to this, Sindhi poetry had been nurtured by country bards and professional minstrels to commemorate the valour of heroes in wars or the munificence of the generous in peace, and to entertain the people by composing and singing their fold tales and pseudo-historical romances. It was also employed by the Sufis and the saints as a medium to express their spiritual ideas and experiences or convey their personal approval or disapproval of the deeds of contemporary individuals
According to the family accounts, from childhood Miyun Shah Inat was fond of music and would sit listening to the musicians and the professional minstrels in the village assemblies. By birth he belonged to an orthodox Syed family and was conversant with the spiritual contents of the poetry of his predecessors. Combining the two traditions, he forged a new line as a saint-poet of the people singing about their heroes in war and peace and their traditional tales and romances as well as about the traders, weavers, and monsoon rains on which the prosperity of the people depended. He also dealt with the spiritual themes of love and hope, and composed verses in praise of the saints and selfless devotees in the search of God.
The volume of his poetry that has survived pertains to twenty-two main topics covering all the above themes, each a chapter by itself, headlined in the extant manuscripts as “SURUD”, indicating the specific mode in which each one was to be sung. Thus, a background of musical tradition is implicit in the poetic compositions of Miyun Shah Inat, though due to a long lapse of time the conceptual pattern of music is lost to us and only the text has survived
The new era in Sindhi poetry heralded by Miyun Shah Inyat soon found its greatest exponent in Shah Abdul Latif (1689–1752) who was in his twenties or younger when Shah Inat died. According to oral tradition, Shah Abdul Latif is said to have met the elderly Shah Inat one more than one occasion, when they would recite to each other some of their parallel verses on common themes.
Whether or not this is true, there remains no doubt that young Shah Abdul Latif was strongly influenced by the form and technique used by Miyun Shah Inat, and within the framework of his own poetic genius he adopted them, to the extent of using some of the same idioms and expressions, though with a more precise skill and insight. Shah Abdul Latif reached higher in the realm of ideas than Miyun Shah Inat who, as a pioneer, was mainly concerned with the contents of his new themes and experiments in the use of idiom and imagery to render the description more vivid and more poetic. In so doing, he set the fashion and paved the way for the advent of Shah Abdul Latif, the immortal poet of the Sindhi language and one of the greatest poets of the world.
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