Monday, Sep 26, 2022
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75 Years Of India's Independence

We The People: The Last Maestro Of Srinagar’s Stringed Instruments

83-year-old Ghulam Mohammad Zaz is the last working craftsman in eight generations of Srinagar’s famous craftsmen who make santoors, sitars and rababs.

Ghulam Mohammad Zaz, Luthier

On the banks of the Jhelum in Srinagar’s old city lies a 300-year-old structure, where Ghulam Mohammad Zaz has been handcrafting strin­ged musical instruments for more than seven deca­des. In a small room on the first floor, whose mud walls, besmerched with soot and showing cracks here and there, Zaz has been bequeathing life into musical instruments since he was just 12.   

Zaz learnt his art by accident. In 1953, the 12-year-old child had fallen sick with typhus fever and was taken to the famous Kashmiri Pandit doctor Gaash Laal, who after assessing Zaz’s health, had told his parents that he couldn’t continue his studies as his body wouldn’t be able to withstand the rigour. So, when Zaz recovered, his uncle took him in as an apprentice in the workshop that was being run by his ancestors for eight generations.

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