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Jhumar or Jhoomar is a form of music and dance that originated in Multan and Balochistan and also thrived in Sandalbad areas such as Faisalabad, Jhang, Chiniot, Nankana Sahib, Toba Tek Singh districts of Punjab in Pakistan. It is a slower and rhythmic form of dance.

The word Jhoomar comes from Jhum/Jhoom which is also known as swaying. The content of the songs may be love and emotions. Jhumar/Jhoomar is a folk dance performed during the harvest season in Punjab. It is also performed during melas, wedding ceremonies and other major functions and celebrations. It is the living testimony of the happiness of men. It is performed by tribal Sikhs and professional acrobats.

Jhumar/Jhoomar is mostly performed by Balochi and people of southern and central Punjab. The movement of animals, the ploughing of the field, sowing of seeds and harvesting are shown in the original progression. The dance is also performed in a circle, to the tune of emotional songs. Jhumar is originally a Baluchi tribal dance which was carried to India by traders. It has become very much a part of Punjab folk heritage. It is a dance of graceful gait, based on specific Jhumar rhythm. Performed almost exclusively by men, it is a common sight to see three generations – father, son, and grandson – dancing altogether. There are three main types of jhumar, each of which has a different mood and is therefore suited to different occasions.

Costume and style

The costumes are the same as that of the Bhangra. Jhumar is danced to the tune of emotional songs without any acrobatics. The dancers dance around a single drummer who stands in the center. The movement of the arms only is considered the dance’s main forte. The dancers’ feet are moved forwards and then backward, in unison, while turning to the left and to the right to the beat of the singers and drummer, sometimes the dancers place their left hand below their ribs on their left hip as they gesticulate with their raised right hands while circling the drummer in a wide circle keeping up a soft, sibilant chorus as they dance.

From time to time a soloist will move toward the center of the circle and showcase his skills. Or two or three dancers will move to the center and mimic planting seeds – bending forward and then straightening up and throwing their left arm in an arc over their head and in the next move, they mime thrashing grain, The dancers of this dance let-off a sound, “chzi chzi” (which sounds very much like a Tamborine being shaken) in tune with the beat of the dance which adds to its grace. This dance has also been integrated into Bhangra. This dance does not tire out its performers and it is normally danced on moonlight nights in the villages away from the habitation.

Types

  • Satluj Jhumar
  • Beas Jhumar
  • Chenab Jhumar
  • Multani Jhumar
  • Jhumar Taari

Famous Dancers

Although a major section of the performers of Jhumar dance has been lost at the time partition of the country, Shri Pokhar Singh (1916-2002) kept it alive by training himself under his family’s guidance and performed the art ever since. His devotion towards the dance form encouraged him to pursue and teach the dance forms in D.A.V. College of Jalalabad.

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