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‘Sahar Khan’: The midnight Ramadan drummer
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‘Sahar Khan’: The midnight Ramadan drummer

Post by on Friday, April 15, 2022

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During spooky silence of the hours of darkness, every night, Abdul Gani, a ‘Sahar Khan’, gives a wake-up call for pre-dawn meals for the devotees during the holy month of Ramadan by beat drum, a centuries old tradition in the valley.
‘Sahar Khan’, a traditional human alarm clock chants the hymns and rouses people for pre-dawn meal with the background sound effects of a drum to awake the Muslim people in the residential areas.
Gani beats his drum loud and fast in the lanes and by-lanes of Pulwama and passes through one colony after another along with his elder son, Irfan Gani, who walks miles along with him holding a halogen light to show the path in the dead of the night.
The human alarm clock in the valley of beating drums continues in the month of Ramadan to awaken the people from the deep slumber before the fasting day.
The 55-year-old Gani said, “I am passionate about being a Ramadan drummer and I am doing this job to earn more good deeds and of course for some money as well to look after my family.”
He said, “I have been beating the drum in Ramadan for five years and this job gives me inner solace. I wish my son would carry on this legacy.”
Gani usually starts his journey at 2 am from his home where he starts chanting the wakeup call for Sehri and continues shouting for around three kilometers to awaken the people who are in deep sleep.
He said when he was young, a Sehar Khan used to visit though the same lane where he lived, he used to get out of room and climb on the top floor to see the life of the drummer.
The age-old tradition has remained relevant in the valley despite the availability of modern gadgets, including alarms, clocks and mobile phones and has become part of the valley’s culture.

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