Jhumar or Jhoomar is a lively form of music and dance that originated in the Multan and Balochistan, also thrived in Sandalbar areas of Punjab.
The Sandal Bar is a region between the rivers Chenab and Ravi in Punjab. It is located in the southern part of Rechna Doab. It spreads over almost 40 miles in width (west to east) and 80 miles in length (north to south). “Bar”, in the local language, means a forested area where there are no resources for cultivation, like water. This Bar is named after Saandal, thought to be the grandfather of the legendary Punjabi hero, Dulla Bhatti. Almost all the area of this bar used to be part Jhang District, but nowadays it is divided between the districts of Faisalabad, Jhang and Toba Tek Singh.
Sandal Bar was actually a vast area with a number of Punjabi tribes sharing same culture and language, attached in blood relations. Nowadays Sandal Bar falls with in Jhang, Faisalabad, Toba Take Singh, Nankana Sahib, Chiniot and Hafizabad districts and some areas of Sheikhupura. The Sandal Bar is known for the jhumar form of music and dance.
It is slower and more rhythmic form. The word “Jhumar” comes from Jhum/Jhoom, which means Swaying. The songs evoke a quality which reminds of swaying. Though the content of these songs is varied – they are usually loved with emotional songs too. The Jhumar is a dance of ecstasy. Jhumar is performed at the wedding ceremonies usually. It is a living demonstration of the happiness. The dance is mostly performed by the Balochi and people of Southern Punjab Pakistan. The emphasis of Jhumar is recreating the gates of animals and birds. 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 circle, to the tune of emotional songs.
Performed exclusively by men, it is a common feature to see three generations – father, son and grandson – dancing all together at weddings. The dance is without acrobatics. Each region of Southern Punjab has its own variation of Jhomar. The movement of the arms only is considered its main forte. Feet are musically placed in front and backwards and turnings are taken to the right, sometimes the dancers place their one hand below the ribs on the left and gesticulate with the right hand. This dance does not tire out its performers and it is normally danced on moonlight nights in the villages away from the habitation. The dancers of this dance let-off a sound, “Dee Dee” in tune with the beat of the dance which adds to its grace. This dance has also been integrated into Bhangra in the eastern parts of Punjab.
There are three main types of Jhoomar, each of which has a different mood and is therefore suited to different occasionally, reason of its predominating mood. They are:
• Satluj Jhoomar
• Beas Jhoomar
• Chenab Jhoomar
• Multani Jhoomar
• Jhoomar Taari