By Iqra Qayoom
Srinagar: Kashmir has a very rich musical tradition going back centuries. Kashmiri music replicates the wealthy melodic heritage and enlightening inheritance of the Vaadi Kashmir Chakri, Henzae, Rouf, Wanwun, Ladishah, Sufiyana kalam are the main forms of musical virtues of Kashmir. Kashmiri rulers were known for their love for music. No wonder musical instruments play a key role in amplifying the harmonious heritage of any place our vaadi is known for musical diversity and had many rhythmic instruments but Tumbaknari is one of the most handed down instruments. The Tumbaknari’s appearance is a must in any Kashmiri ceremony. In west it is known as tumbal or Tumbari and in Kashmir it is Tumbaknari. The “naer” is added because of the tail (pipe) like shape which means nore in Kashmiri language which lead to pronouncing this instrument as Tumbak naer
The Tumbaknari has a cavernous history in Kashmir, Many people believe that it is gift from rulers or visitors who used to visit and explore the beauty of our vaadi in the olden days from Iran, middle east and central Asia. The Tumbaknari is made by (kraals) potters and is sold by many vendors and at shops in many places in Kashmir. The Tumbaknari’s presence is pre-requisite facet of nuptial celebrations, in Kashmir, specifically in camphire (Maenzraat) ceremony
It is so easy to use that even small children’s find it interesting it is usually played while held under one arm (the non-dominant one) or by placing side way on the lap it is played with the fingers that let it to produce a pleasant and fascinating beat
This instrument is not so expensive the price a Tumbaknari depends on its size. It is so affordable that it can be used in every marriage ceremonies in any home whether they may be poor or rich. It is the soul of Kashmiri music. It is so common that it is not only used in martial functions but also in every small event like engagements ear piercing mundane of the new born etc.
Nowadays it is made of wood at few places but in our Kashmir, it is still made of baked clay and sheep skin as it used to be in old age. The base of the Tumbaknari is made of sheep skin (with fur removed) the skin is then kept in the sun for a day after it becomes a dry wax and by adding portion of flour to the skin, These constituents make the base of the Tumbaknari
The clay is left to dry in the sun. Then the water is added to the clay preparing for kraal (potters) wheel. Then the potter shapes half part in a round manner. The kraal then shape it as an cylindrical shape like neck on his wheel. Then these masterpieces are then let to dry in the sun then are taking to bake in the the furnace. (Batti) these master pieces are ready to use few are painted and few left unpainted.
But in this era of western music and modern musical instruments Tumbaknari is losing its originality our generation is so much into global music that they don’t find Tumbaknari fascinating to play with somehow many kraals have left making of this masterpiece as this process takes a lot of time and handwork meanwhile it has very low profit rate and least number of buyers our old Tumbaknari is now replaced with pad talking to a local potter Bashir Ahmad says that two decades back they used to sell 100 or more Tumbaknaris in a day but now this art don’t give us that much profit we need to train our children’s about our culture and its aspects
We should make them realise the importance of these kind of art in our heritage we need to promote our culture by buying these masterpieces it would somehow maintain our diversity and may lead to revive our culture and heritage