A great classical musician from Jammu – Jammu Kashmir Latest News | Tourism

Rajeshwar Singh ‘Raju’
It is said that “music is the universal language of humanity. Where words fail music speaks. Music is the language of the spirit.
These words reflect the soul of music and if the connection of music to the soul is to be observed, Indian classical music is the best option. You close your eyes and listen to classical music; you are in another world where peace reigns and only peace heals you from within.
Indian classical music is very rich. But it is very concerning that it has been threatened by Western culture to such an extent that it has been overshadowed by Western music and the younger generation is madly in love with imported content.
It is not unfair to add here that Indian classical music has suffered greatly because of the casual approach of musicians to their own roots. But there had been great personalities in the past who played an important role in keeping classical music alive through their tireless efforts. Our own region of Jammu is privileged to have many great musicians dedicated to Indian classical music in the past. One of them is Pandit Uma Dutt Sharma.
Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma was born in the month of April in Jammu in 1900 into a Brahmin family. His father Pt. Sant Ram and his mother were very religious in nature. His father used to offer prayers at the family temple of Pratap Singh, then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. So, from childhood, he also started going to the temple with his father and developed a keen interest in devotional music. At that time, Maharaja Hari Singh ruled Jammu and Kashmir.
Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma’s interest in music reached the limit of passion and he decided to experiment in this field. During his childhood, when he accompanied his father to the court of Maharaja Hari Singh, he also had the opportunity to meet leading singers and musicians from all over India. Besides the famous local singer Mallika Pukhraj, well-established singers and musicians like Najakat and Salamat also visited Jammu quite often. Musicians were patronized by kings who often decorated music festivals in their courts.
Sardar Harnam Singh hailing from Punjab, a well-known Tabla and Pakhawaj player served in the court of the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir. Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma learned the tabla from him. After that, he went to Benares for higher education in music under Bade Ram Das, a great classical musician and singer of his time. He devoted himself entirely to Indian classical music and practiced intensely for about 10 years. Thereafter, he returned to his hometown and started promoting Indian classical music here in Jammu.
Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma was a great musician who started a tradition of classical music in the temple city, through which Jammu gained name and fame throughout the country. He began to teach music to his students with great diligence. Some of his prominent disciples in this field include Santoor player Pandit Shiv kumar Sharma, Krishna Lal Verma, Om Prakash Dogra in Tabla, Chandu Lal, Kewal Krishna, Narendra Gupta, Vindra Bano, Mangal Singh and Dr. Karan Singh, Hansraj and Laxmikant Joshi with classical vocals.
It is worth mentioning that Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma is one of those few performers who performed in the vocal music of Lahore radio station before the infamous partition of India in 1947. He was also a music supervisor at Radio Kashmir Jammu. During these days, it not only organized performances by great musicians from different parts of the country, but Jammu also had the opportunity to listen to great personalities of Indian classical music. It was as if the music was flowing through his veins.
When Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma went to Srinagar during his work, he was heavily influenced by the Santoor, a folk instrument from Kashmir. He decided that by making appropriate modifications to the santoor, he would bring this instrument to the heights that this instrument truly deserves. It is a matter of content that his dream was realized by his own son Pt. Shiv Kumar Sharma. Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma inspired him to adopt the Santoor as a musical instrument and make creative changes to it in order to make it one of the main musical instruments in Indian classical music.
Indian classical music tradition is very old in Jammu and Kashmir, especially in Jammu. In the royal court here, classical singers and musicians came from different corners of India to show their talent and captivate music lovers with their charismatic performances. It is a matter of pride that the pious land of Jammu has also given birth to such musicians who have brought laurels not only to the nation but also to this part of the world with their performances in the country and even abroad . These great musicians include eminent tabla players Alla Rakha Khan, Zakir Hussain, Santoor player Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and singer Mallika Pukhraj etc. But if it is said that Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma has done much to make this tradition work and inspire others to join the movement, it will be justified.
Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma is an inspiration to every artist. His passion for music was such that he wanted classical music to remain at its peak for which it needs to be promoted and disseminated with constant efforts. Many classical singers and musicians have been inspired by him. He has done a noble job in carrying on the tradition.
In 1973, Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma may have left this materialistic world for an eternal home, but the legacy he left is a tradition that must also be preserved and expanded. These great personalities should not remain in the layers of the past. For this, music lovers in particular must keep the torch burning, which by becoming a source of inspiration will always inspire art lovers.
Let us be practical and help preserve our own Indian classical music in whatever capacity because by ignoring it we have played with our own identity. Before it’s too late, let’s take a cue from the great musician Pt. Uma Dutt Sharma, that’s what dedication and devotion is in real terms.