Ghulam Muhammad Zaz, a traditional Kashmiri instrument-maker in Srinagar, is renowned for making the Kashmiri musical instruments of high quality, both in craftsmanship and artistic aspects.
He builds about a dozen instruments — sitar, rabab, sarangi, santoor, tanpura, nai (flute), saaz-e-Kashmir — at his century-old family workshop in the old city of Srinagar.
Ghulam Muhammad Zaz.
He is considered to be the master for making these instruments.
His amazing craftsmanship has roots in his family background. His ancestors were associated with this profession and this has been passed to him by his family.
Zaz gives credit to his grandfather and father from making him a good craftsman. They would take him along the workshop when he was a young boy. But after the death of his grandfather, he fully dedicated himself towards this business.
Ghulam Mohammad Zaz working in his workshop. kashmirmonitor
The interesting thing is that he has never renovated his workshop, and the tools have been passed down by generations.
Zaz carves out each part of the instrument separately before putting them all together. Then he polishes and paints the piece.
All the designs are now stored in his mind and everything comes naturally to him. And if sometimes he tries to change anything, he will lose the sur (melody).
Bhajan Rustum Sopori. eventshigh
With disappointment, Zaz says that the valley’s youth are completely unaware of the traditional music of Kashmir which has been the part of them for centuries.
But these days, he is busy in giving final touches to a handcrafted Kashmiri santoor—an order for a client in New Delhi.
The journey of this his man will continue but the big question is will his art be forgotten and thrown into oblivion?Only time will tell.