By Badil Baloch 

Karim Bukhsh has been playing the instrument of Suroz for more than 60 years but he has never received any support from the government.

Suroz is one of the oldest musical instruments in Balochi music. However, with the passage of time, the sweet and soft tone of Suroz is fading due to modern electronic musical instruments.

Suroz is a bowed string instrument with a long neck and is played vertically. It is also considered the national instrument of the Balochs.

In the beginning, Suroz was limited to the Ludi caste of Balochs that was taught by the elders of the tribe to their youngsters. Then, It was considered as a hereditary profession.

As all Balochs have started to play Suroz and now it has become the part and parcel of the Baloch culture. It’s another story that the artists and musicians of Suroz have received little appreciation, patronage and support.

Bukhsh, 86, has quit commercial performances due to his aging factor but his passion for the instrument and music goes on as he likes to play off and on.

Karim Bukhsh is one such artist from Pasni who has been performing with Suroz for 60 years. He used to make up his living by performing at wedding ceremonies but at the age of 86, commercial performance is no longer possible for him.

The musician told PakVoices that he had performed in Islamabad, Murree, Lahore and Multan several years ago, adding that the Government hasn’t taken enough measures to promote the ancient art of Suroz.

Bukhsh is still hopeful about the bright future of Suroz as he said,” The prosperity of Suroz depends upon the youth if they continue to like it the way they do, the musical instrument will always live.”

The centuries old music instrument of Suroz.

He said, “Suroz has 18 wires and 12 sounds,” further elaborating that the structure of Suroz is made of deer skin.

Ikram Khan, a famous Baloch singer, told PakVoices, “Suroz always had very significant role in Baloch music,” adding that Baloch poetry will be incomplete without this instrument.

The instrument of Suroz has produced a beautiful combination of modern and classical Balochi music to the modern music.

Badal Baloch is working with PakVoices as a citizen journalist from Pasni.

Translated by Suleman Tahir