Traditional drum beater in Srinagar, Nazir Ahmad (Photo/ANI)
Traditional drum beater in Srinagar, Nazir Ahmad (Photo/ANI)

'Sehar khan', traditional Ramadan drum beaters, still playing their role in Srinagar

ANI | Updated: May 07, 2021 13:54 IST

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], May 7 (ANI): Amid the ongoing holy month of Ramadan, traditional drummers -- known as Sehar Khans in Srinagar -- have been carrying on with the ritual of waking up people by beating drums for Sehri, the pre-dawn meal before the fasting day.
In the era of technology, when many people rely on alarm features on various gadgets, these traditional drum beaters make it a point to continue the legacy.
A traditional drum beater in Srinagar, Nazir Ahmad spoke to ANI and said, "These days people rely on alarm features on their mobile phones, but this is our old custom. I wake up at 2.30 am to go around the city beating drums."
Some people step out to thank the drum beaters for waking them up, said Nazir.
"People thank us and say that it reminds them of the old times. Some people stand in their balconies and applaud," he said.

Usually, Nazir steps out alone when the sky is still dark but is sometimes accompanied by his younger brother.
"My father did this drum-beating ritual during Ramadan for over 35 years. After he died, I continued the ritual. It has been 20 years since," he added.
Tufail Ahmad, Nazir's younger brother said, "Sehar Khani was performed by our fathers and grandfathers and we continue to do this. There are several Sahar Khans in various districts."
Umar Rashid, a local resident in the area said, "Sehar Khani is very important to us. This has continued for 400-500 years. Even in this age of modernisation when people have mobile phones to set alarms and mosques have speakers, the drum beaters have continued the ritual. This is the main point of attraction in the month of Ramadan."
With modernisation and constantly changing lifestyles, Rashid has lost hope that this custom will be witnessed by coming generations.
"I hope the tradition continues. But looking at the current circumstances and lifestyle, it is difficult to imagine that the tradition will continue," he concluded. (ANI)