BALTI MUSIC AND ART
It is said
that the Persian Art and music found their way into Baltistan
prior to the advent of the Mughal Rule in India. A Balti version
says that the Mughal Princess Gul Khatoon better known in
Baltistan as Mindoq Gialmo (Flower Queen) brought with her
musicians and artisans into Baltistan. The musicians and
artisans propagated Mughal music and art under her patronage.
Musical instruments such as the ‘Surnai’ , ‘Karnai’ , ‘Dhol’ ,
‘Chang’ etc. found their way into Baltistan.
The very terms
such as ‘Muqamat’ , ‘Usul’ , ‘Gosha’ , ‘Rawani’ etc. of Persian
music are also used in Baltistan.
music or ‘Ragas’ are known as ‘Harib’ in Baltistan. Some of the
‘Haribs’ or ‘Ragas’ that are found in Baltistan are the
Author being Amir Khusro 1253 – 1325 A.D.
11. Mukha –
12. Amar –
e – Sad
13. Ajam or
Nauroze – e – Ajam
15. Aamal –
e – Sal
18. No –
19. Pish –
Chumber locallay called Duldul Saqala
20. Daur –
e – Saqia
Mala locally called Daur – e – Maula
She – Gah
She – Gah
38. Dev –
43. Sa –
45. Ashi –
– e – Arab
62. Sahar –
Agah locally composed
NGO fochos locally compose one
TSANG KHRIS locally composed
65. Saz – e
– Hindi locally composed
of the above are Persian classical ‘Ragas’. Hindi ‘Ragas’ such
as DABAR MALA, are also included in the list. A very few ‘Ragas’
or ‘Harib’ have been composed locally.
imitation of the Mughal Court, ‘Nobat – Khanas’ were constructed
in the vicinity of the places where ‘Nobat’ was played five
times a day especially on the occasion of Nauroz or New Year
i.e. 21st March when all the musicians in the realm
took part in this musical concert. The Harib ‘Nobat’ was played
on the occasion of the Nauroz only.
position of classical music or ‘Haribs’ is deplorable. For want
of patronage, which invariably came from the ruling families
couples with the spread of influence of the religious leaders
during the last twenty years, this art is fast vanishing. There
is hardly a musician now who remembers more than twenty-five
‘Ragas’ or ‘Harib’. The day is not for off when this art will
die forever. We are making arrangement to tape and preserve
whatever little of the music is left.
and Sculptors who were brought into the land are credited with
construction of the Gangupi Water channel, the Marble Palace,
the Mindoq Khar Palace and the Hilal Bagh which was fitted with
marble fountains. The art of woodcarving was at its height in
those days. The carpenters used to decorate Verandas and Ceiling
by carvings known as ‘Panjra’ and ‘Hatamband’. This art is said
to have come to Baltistan from Iran by way of undivided India.
The following are the names of ‘Panjras’ , ‘Hatambunds’
3. Shash –
4. Hasht –
5. Dawaz –
Dah – Sar
6. Shans –
Dah – Sar
9. Jan – e
11. Hasht –
12. Pusht –
e – Mahi or Pushte – Mah
14. Ab –
15. Moj – e
– Darya various kinds
16. Moj – e
17. Moj – e
18. Moj – e
– Bist – o – Yak
19. Moj – e
The above can be
made into Panjara or Hatambund but the following can only be made
1. YUNG –
This art was
patronized by the Rajas and the nobility. As patronage is not forth
coming any more, this art is on the threshold of extinction.
The classical and
other dances are displayed on the occasion of nawroze (21st March), and on the marriages of Rajas etc. These can be classified
into Sword Dances, Broqchhos and Dewan or Ghazal.
The following are
the names of the sword dances:
It commemorates a
great victory by the Maqpon Rajas over their enemies. As a mark of
respect the musician who plays on the drum or ‘DANG’ stands up and
goes on playing on it for sometime. It is worthy of note that the
Maqpon princes would sometimes dance when this tune was played.
2. GASHO –
This sword dance
is associated with the Gasho Dynasty of Purik (Kargil) who loomed
large in this region one time. It is also called ‘GHBUS – LA –
HLTANMO OR FLOWER DANCE
the advent of spring.
OR THE MARRIAGE PROCESSION DANCE.
specifically performed on the occasion of the marriages of Rajas. In
it the PACHONES or twelve Wazirs who accompany the bride take part.
HRCHES OR THE NECK DANCE
In the early
stages the dancers move their necks to and fro.
In the above
dances seven or more persons take part.
7. THEN –
Only two persons
take part in this dance.
This is one man’s
display of dance with two swords one in each hand.
Next to the Sword
dances comes BROQCHOS which include ‘FURGON KAR’ or Pigeon dance,
CHURUKPA, HLANO KAR or Fairy Dance and SHOLI are well known. The
dance that is played to the tune of the ‘GHAZAL’ is called DEWAN.
MAQPONI FUTUNG KAR
or Maqpon’s Sleeve Dance is a dance that is displayed to the tune of
the folk – lore called Amir Haider depicting the downfall of the
Maqpon Dynasty in 1840 at the hand of the Dogras. This dance is
specially displayed at Khaplu to perpetuate the memory of
indignities suffered by the Maqpons. This tune is not played in the
presence of any Maqpon prince.
commemorates the victory of Yabgo over Raja Ghori Tham. It is
confined to village PHARWA.
It may be
mentioned that there are certain tunes which are played on special
occasions. CHILAHO tune is played when the royal bride is taken out
from the palace. LAMSNA tune is played when the Raja goes out in
procession ‘BAM’ is a war tune.
From the statement
of eye – witnesses it is confirmed that as late as 1910 women took
part in dances along with men in the valley of Khaplu. But this
custom has now come to an end. In the past there used to be dancing
girls called ‘BEKARMO’ and ‘MALAKH ANMO’.