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Ustad Muhammad Juman or Jumman

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Ustad Muhammad Juman or Jumman

Ustad Muhammad Juman

Ustad Muhammad Juman

Ustad Muhammad Juman or Jumman (10 October 1935 – 24 January 1990) was a modern Sindhi musician and classical singer. He was born in the village of Sorra, Balochistan, Pakistan.

He was fond of music and went to Radio Pakistan in Karachi to start a career as a fiddler. There, it was suggested to him that he sing, resulting in his starting a program on Radio Pakistan in Hyderabad.

He received his music education from Ustad Nazir Hussain and Bary Waheed Ali Khan, experienced in Bhittai’s Sur. He became very famous when he sang “Munhjo Mulk Maleer” for the film Umar Marvi. He became well-known everywhere after performing the Siraiki Kafi “Yaar Dadhi Ishq Atish Lai Hai”. He also sang Mir Sikandar Khan Khoso’s kafis “Ishq munjhon izhar thee ayo” and “Kech Punhal day hal kahay hal” at Radio Pakistan. Juman’s son, Shafi Muhammad, also followed his style of kafi singing.

Juman was awarded a Bedil Award, Gold Award, Saga Award, and Latif Award, and, in 1980, the Tamgha-e-Husn-e-Karkerdigi by the Pakistani government. Juman died on 24 January 1990 in Karachi.

Ustad Mohammad Juman was born in 1935, at Sourh Goth in coastal area near Karachi, with an essence of music right from his birth as his father, Haji Ahmed Sakheerani Baloch, was also a musician. Some music scholars are of the view that Ustad Juman is the third greatest Sindhi musician, while first is Beejal who sung the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai from ‘Shah Jo Risalo’ and second is Shah of Sindh. He went to Ustad Mubarak Ali to get perfection in singing, who taught him to show his art on Tanpoorah invented by Beejal. Ustad Juman passed his first audition at Radio Pakistan, Karachi, and got recognition as a singer by singing Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai’s classical poetry. Later, he was offered job there as a flute player.

With the existence of Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad in 1955, he, like other Sindhi artistes shifted to Hyderabad in order to promote Sindhi singers and musicians as the radio station was near the residences of Sindhi performers.  With Hameed Naseem, he worked at the newly-established radio station as a flute player and panel staff artist. The radio director was got impressed by Ustad Juman’s performance and promoted him to music composer under Master Nazar Hussain. Master Nazar drew his attention towards composition.

In the meantime, he studied Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai devotedly as a musician, and other material available in Sindhi language on the subject. Later, he proved himself a great musician by performing Raags (music) of Shah Bhittai in a distinct way, which surprised the then musicians. But his music authority can be gauged from a narration mentioned in a book “Karoo Vass Kayam” by Sauz Halai on his art and personality. Ustad Juman compared the rhythm between Aazan and the Sur by singing some poems in a Mehfil, challenging all the participants if they prove him wrong. He suggested musicians to visit Madina and compare the rhythm.

Indeed, Ustad Mohammad Juman has not given us a musical product as Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai and Beejal are known with their inventions, Tanbooro and Tanporah. He has localised great classical music by singing it over with local musical instruments, such as Yaktaro and Chhapri. Ustad Juman opened a new leaf in the musical history by setting Shah Bhittai’s local and non local Raag together.

He was a singer of international stature and had performed in India, Bangladesh, Japan, Australia and other countries, and similarly his performance is not limited to Sindhi; he also sung in Urdu and Seraiki as well and has been felicitated by renowned singers namely Lata Mangeshkar, Noor Jehan, Abida Parveen and others.

Former premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was fond of Ustad Juman. He used to invite him to beautify his personal gatherings and music Mehfils.

Ustad Juman has uncountable programmes on his credit, but he earned some fame through PTV programmes including Sindhi Seengar, Sindh Sadiyun Kha, Latifi Laat, Programme Chehri, Aap Ki Khidmat Me, Neelam Ghar, Meri Pasand, Kasab Kamal and many others. He won several awards including Presidential Award for good performance, Shah Latif Award, Sachal Sarmast Award, PTV Award and others.

His prominent students who maintained his grace in the field are Zaib-un-Nisa, Jiji Zarina Baloch, Ali Mohammad, Hussain Bux, Deedar Hussain, Shafi Mohammad Juman.

The author has also written some poems, one of them he wrote in Madina during Hajj.

The last days of the third great musician and distinguished singer were not different from his mentors and artistes. Usually, singers breathe their last in miseries and without any care on the part of government and so was happened with him. He left this world with smile over his wrinkled face and sparkle in dim eyes.