Drummers struggle to make ends meet when a health emergency makes them lose their jobs
LAHORE: For centuries, the Punjab people have woken up loudly from the bands who came to remind them of Sehri time in the early hours of the morning.
However, tradition is slowly dying in the provincial city centers, although rural areas still enjoy the beat of drummers who walk through the environment to wake people up for Sehri.
“Uth Jao’s logo, Sehri Kha Kar Roza Rakh Lo (Wake up, ask Sehri to celebrate fasting),” has become a rare sound compared to the past when it was too common on the streets of Lahore.
Detention before the coronavirus, these bands make a living by playing their songs and beats at festivals, weddings and other celebrations. Now because lockdown has restricted all such meetings, drummers can only come out to help people get up to eat early Ramazan.
An old drummer, Ali Mohammad, said, “People don’t hold marriages and functions because of the lock that has caused financial problems for us. This is the only work we can do at Ramazan. “
He added that he observed quickly after consuming food provided by someone in the environment.
Baba Faqir Hussain, a resident of Wagah, was also one of the drummers in Ramazan. He has worked to wake people through drums in the month of Ramazan for the past 20 years.
“I woke up at one night, took my son along and then played drums throughout the village. It takes about two and a half hours for us to complete the assignment, “said Baba Faqir when telling his Ramazan routine.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, he said they did this considering it was a good deed, “We did not do it for any compensation.”
The veteran drummer said, “Some people pay us of their own volition, but we never demand compensation from anyone.”
He stated that he traveled several kilometers at fast speeds, playing drums every day on empty streets to attract people’s attention at Sehri’s time.
Usually, people pay for these bands towards the end of the holy month. The amount ranges from Rs100 to Rs1,000. Drummers say that they use this amount to buy clothes and shoes for their families, especially their children.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2020.