Pappu Sain -the sufi drummer

Pappu Sain -the sufi drummer

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Pappu Sain, a devotee to the shrine of Shah Jamal

the sufi drummer, who died on November 7, became a dhol player of an awesome gift from nature.  Pappu Sain’s age was 50. And his playing was an exceptional flair and style. His name and playing of the dhol have been integrally related to the shrine of Shah Jamal. So, he performed the dhol and made it one of the maximum putting capabilities of the activities that characterized the rituals of the shrine. The sufi shrines have various silent capabilities.  Some acknowledged the dhamal. While a few for the qawwali, a few for the numerous mannats. Furthermore, some acknowledged the rendition of the kaafi.  The shrine of Shah Jamal became famous for a long. The dhol performed there, specifically on each Thursday.

The early life of Pappu Sain

Pappu Sain’s given name became Zulfiqar Ali. He was born to Luddan Sain in Lahore. Pappu Sain commenced playing dhol at the age of 12 on the shrine of Shabbir Shah close to Chandrawan Pind, Lahore. His father then made him a shargird to Mian Qhulam Qadir. Qadir was a tabla player. Pappu Sain dhol wala became interested in dhol playing from his adolescence.


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As the stature of the dhol players in the society was very low in those days. So, they had trouble creating a living. dhol players like Baba Lal Malik Pur Charay Walay, Ustad Allah Ditta, Ustad Baoo of Lahore have been well-known for their instances of playing the solo dhol. Moreover,  Baba Noor Ilahi and Baba Karam Ilahi commenced playing dhol as a jori (a pair). They additionally commenced playing classical taals at the dhol.

They use to play teen tala, ek tala, rupak, panj tala ki sawari and mughlaye in vilambat lai on dhol. One of them performed the tala or naghma and the other improvised. They additionally switched the bar and naghma. After them, the concept of jori commenced gaining reputation and a few well-known joris came together. These included Baba Khadim with Baba Ali Bakhsh; Baba Jamal with Baba Mundh; Baba Luddan Sain with Baba Gami Sain; and Muhammad Shafi with Muhammad Ismaeel.

Pappu Sain dhol Shah Jamal Lahore

During the last four decades, the rituals with quasi-cultural expression have been driven to the side. As the shrine of Shah Jamal became acknowledged for its dhol playing. So, the devotees accumulated and spent the nighttime and higher a part of the nighttime in the sanctuary of the shrine. These occasions additionally spilled over on Fridays.  The trance endured being nurtured via way of means of the ones looking a secure haven from the humdrum and rat race of the society outside.

As it is, Thursday is the day supposed for the ritualistic release. However, gradually with the onset of more puritan restrictions, the dhol playing became shifted from the front of the shrine to be sidelined.  Then,  moved downstairs. A selected region was dedicated to it. Initially, the playing became a part of the rituals.  And no divisions have been perceived or forced. Later, the playing became wondered and edged out.

However, it couldn’t be removed completely due to the fact the primary function of the shrine became the playing that reverberated some distance.  The main feature of the shrine was carrying the hopes and aspirations of the devotees – the gradual silent mass of humanity that discovered solace in the collective.

Pappu Sain attended different rituals

 Moreover, he used to go along with his father Luddan Sain to each urs, meal, and weekly Thursday ritual. Furthermore, he used to play dhol on the shrine of Data Ali Hajveri and Peer Makki together along with his father and brother on each Thursday. Some years later he commenced playing on the shrine of Shah Jamal and Madho Lal Hussain on each Thursday together along with his new Jori dar, Jhoora Sain. He used to play dhol from nighttime to 4 am on the shrine.

His method of playing dhol

Many people listened to his dhol on the shrine of Shah Jamal. His method of playing dhol and the incorporation of tabla and pakhawaj phrases changed the sound of the dhol. In dhamal section, he introduced a brand new variant referred to as nobat and chakri. He became additionally a normal visitor to the shrines like Sehwan Sharif, Mehr Shah Wali Sarkar, Data Ali Hajveri, Peer Makki, and mela of Madho Lal Hussain in which a large number of people, musicians, and dhol players come to wait from all around Pakistan. Pappu Sain performed new talas in vilambat, madh and  drut lai that attracted many people, dhol players, and different musicians. People from throughout Pakistan commenced inviting him to celebrations like Bansant, mehndi, melas, sham-i-qalandar.


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Jhoora Sain, the son of Baba Mundh, became the jori dar with Pappu Sain. Jhoora Sain has become very well-known for his sturdy time maintaining in vilambat, madh and drut lai. They performed many tabla bols on dhol like sitar khani, mat tala, jay tala, ek tala, etc. They performed pon and sawa talas on dhol for the first time in the records of the instrument.

One of the sufi drummer interview

In one of his interviews, Pappu Sain said about his performances at the shrine, “I’m on duty for my spiritual guide Baba Shah Jamal. The experience feels so innate and effortless that it seems as if someone else is playing the dhol for me.” 

Furthermore, the dhol maestro said, “I gave a new dimension to the art of dhol playing and have avoided adopting a commercial-style despite having been part of a band and working with renowned singers.” 

Pappu Sain got international recognition

Their mystical, loud, and groovy playing additionally attracted people internationally. There have been continually a few foreigners on the Shah Jamal shrine on each Thursday to concentrate on the dhol. Pappu Sain dhool and Jhoora Sain became famous throughout the world. They performed to play dhol in numerous countries, in Japan, France, England, Singapore, and Germany. Pappu Sain became interviewed numerous instances in TV shows, newspapers, magazines, and for thesis researches. Many documentaries were made on his dhol playing. He additionally featured in the Pakistani band referred to as Overload.

The Pride of Performance was awarded to Pappu Sain for his contribution to the music and culture of Pakistan. He recorded and performed dhol with numerous pinnacle artists inclusive of Noor Jahan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Peter Pannke, dhamal composer Nazeer Ali.


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