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Popular Sitar player dies

Local artistes, writers and music lovers attended his funeral. He left behind his only son, Fazal Ghani, and widow. He had launched his career in his early teens. He was not from a music family, but was born with an inborn talent as he had a natural flair for music. He had learnt playing Chitrali sitar through his sheer love for the instrument. He had no Ustad (teacher) as such in music, according to his son. Music lovers and experts have condoled and termed his death an irreparable to Pashto folk music. Shad Mohammad ustad was recipient of many local awards and enjoyed a widespread popularity among audience due to his mastery over Chitrali sitar. He could play any Pashto or Urdu tunes on his favourite sitar. Fazal Ghani told Dawn, unfortunately poetry of his legendary father could not be preserved. He added that most popular Pashto songs, he had sung on radio had also been lost to air as there was no system of recording in place at that time. `I suggest a scholar should conduct research on his art, poetry, singing and contributions,` Mr Ghani said. Shah Mohammad Ustad was an extempore Pashto poet and used to sing, most often, of his own numbers. In the beginning, he was a village farmer, but then he formally adopted music as his career and the only source of income. He came into contact with many popular singers and instrumentalists of his own. Rashid Ali Dehkan, a poet and producer at Radio Pakistan Peshawar, introduced the master sitar player in 1955 on the airways. He had served for over four decades on radio and TV. Being a master player, he also had a large following in Afghanistan. Laigzada Laiq, a music expert, told this scribe that Shad Mohammad Ustad had worked for Lahore, Karachi and also Quetta radio stations and later performed on PTV. `Shad Mohammad Ustad was a folksinger too as he used to sing along with playing sitar, but then the officials at radio had advised him to confine himself only to playing of Chitrali sitar. Mohammad Aslam Khan, who has recently brought out a book titled `Tair Hair Awazoona` (The voices of the yore days) said that Shad Mohammad was a humble artiste who had never begged for any assistance though he had lost one leg to cancer a few years ago. `Ustad was a self-made artiste and 1(ept a low profile despite great fame and name. His death is really a great loss to Pashto music, he said. He said that he had conducted several interviews of Shad Mohammad Ustad. He said that the Ustad had great love for traditional Pashto music. He said that Radio Pakistan, Peshawar, could preserve a few of his popular folk songs and performances. –Published in Dawn]]>

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