Culture

Babu - The legacy of the band master from Agra

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No wedding is complete without music, not at least in the subcontinent. Here is a story of a band master, Mohammad Ismaeel. His father, famous by the name of ‘BABU’, the Band Master in Agra (India), migrated to Pakistan during partition, when Ismaeel was just two years old. 

 They left all their belongings there and came to Pakistan with very little wealth, which included their musical instruments.

 Struggling financially, Babu started his band master work in Malir at 15 and Ismaeel, who was very much inspired by his father's work, joined him in the same profession when he turned 17.

 

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Since this was a novel skill in those days, Babu's band business ran successfully and they were able to make a handsome amount for themselves. Babu passed away but Ismaeel continued the legacy and has been in this line of work since fifty years. He has seven daughters and a son; all of whom are married and settled in their homes.

  

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The modern days have a variety of latest musical instruments available and people do not call the band masters to the weddings anymore. This has dropped the business greatly and Ismaeel feels very sad about it. Even his son doesn't appreciate his father doing this work anymore and refused to join him in this profession, and chose a different line of work. 

 

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Ismaeel, now 72, is unable to play a lot of instruments and only repairs them using goat skin. Some people even trick him by renting the instruments against their CNIC's and not returning them at all. This has also reduced the number of instruments at the shop. 

  

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