Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen – Eminent musician and scholar from Punjab

Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen is a musician, teacher, tabla artist and scholar from the North Indian state of Punjab. Currently he teaches music at the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar. He is a scholar who authors books on music as well. Noted tabla artist Avirbhav Verma is his grandson.

He was born in Punjab in 1927. His parents – Thakur Mangat Singh and Ishwari Devi were not trained classical musicians. Yet they supported him to pursue a career in the field of music. In those days, music was not considered a respectable profession in India. So they didn’t receive enough support from their community. Despite receiving threats from their own community, his parents sent him to Durga Music Academy in Jammu so that he can mingle with folk artists. Pandit Jagdish Dutt trained him tabla at the music academy, and later he was sent to Lahore to receive training from Mian Kadir Baksh of Punjab Gharana.

He returned to Kashmir in 1948 and taught at Maharani Mahilla College. He also worked a staff artiste of AIR at Delhi and Jalandhar. He joined HMV College at Jalandhar in the music department in 1962, and worked for 25 years serving as HOD as well. He has been regular in his music concerts in India and abroad, along with his teaching profession.

Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen – Some interesting facts

1. For supporting the musical career of their son, Lachhman Singh’s parents often received threats and they were also warned to estrange from the community.

2. London-based famous musician, tabla artist and founder of Asian Underground subgenre of music in the 1990s, Talvin Singh has visited Punjab in the 1980s to study tabla under him for one year. He revolutionized Indian fusion music in the early 1990s taking basic lessons from Indian classical music.

3. His son Pawan Kumar Verma and grandson Avirbhav Verma are his famous disciples. Avirbhav Verma is currently a leading tabla artist of Hindustani tradition.

4. He got opportunity to learn tabla under Mian Kadir Baksh, a descendant of the musical family which founded the Punjab Gharana of tabla playing. When Baksh visited India after partition, he bestowed the title of ‘Ustad’ to his disciple.  

5. He also learnt sitar from Pandit Jiya Lal Basant during his stay in Lahore.


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