Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen is an eminent musician and scholar from Punjab, India. He was born on December 3rd, 1927 in Punjab and was encouraged to play music by his father Thakur Mangat Singh and his mother Shrimati Ishwari Devi. Although his parents werenrajt classical musicians themselves they had a deep affection for music and very much encouraged their son so that he could devote himself, mind and body to music. This was in the days when music was not considered a respectable profession in India and his family had even received threats to be excommunicated from the community. Despite this, his father braved the threats and after initially letting him spend time with folk musicians he sent him to the Durga Music Academy in Jammu to begin his music education. It was here that he received his training in tabla from Pandit Jagdish Dutt. After this he was sent to Lahore were he received further training from the great Mian Kadir Baksh, the torch-bearer of the famous Punjab Gharana. Mian Kadir Baksh was a legend among tabla players of India and had several disciples of great repute including Ustad Alla Rakha, Ustad Shaukat Hussain aswell as Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen. It was Mian Kadir Baksh’s forefathers who founded the Punjab Gharana of tabla playing. While in Lahore, Ustad Lachhman Singh Seen also started learning sitar from Pandit Jiya Lal Basant. Before the partition of India in 1948, Ustad Ji came back to Jammu and was appointed as a tabla teacher at the Maharani Mahilla College. Later he joined All India Radio as a staff artiste, first in Delhi and then in Jalandhar. During this time his Guru, Mian Kadir Baksh came to India and honoured him with the title of “Ustad”. He also formalised his training by studying for and obtaining several degrees and certificates in tabla, sitar and vocal music. In 1962 he was appointed as a lecturer in music at HMV College – a prominent music institution in Jalandhar – where he served for 25 years eventually serving as the head of the music department. He taught M.A. and M.Phil classes and during this time he prepared several teams for various music competitions, composed many orchestras and imparted his vast knowledge of music to thousands of students. He is a member of the faculty board of study of Music and Fine Arts at the Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar.
Apart from teaching, Ustad Ji has also played in many concerts all over India and accompanied many famous musicians including Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar, Pandit Onkar Nath Thakur, Master Rattan, Begum Akhtar, Pandit V.G. Jog and Pandit Ravi Shankar to name a few. He has received many awards and honours and has always been proud to represent Punjab wherever he goes. His “gurubhai” Ustad Alla Rakha tried to persuade him to leave Punjab and go to Bombay, but being a proud Punjabi he refused saying that he wanted to serve Punjab where he was born and that he is indebted to this great land of Sufi, Saints and Gurus. As a result he has become a musical legend in Punjab and everyone takes his name with the utmost respect. In a prestigious competition in Calcutta, his playing was so impressive that the audience aswell as giving him a standing ovation also chanted “Long live Punjab, Long live Punjab”. Many of his students have achieved distinction in the world of music like Pawan Kumar Verma, Talvin Singh, Avirbhav Verma and his distinguished sons Manu Kumar Seen and Kinnar Kumar Seen. His tabla solos have been recorded and preserved in the National Music Archives as musical treasures. He possesses a deep and vast knowledge of Indian music which he has passed onto his many students including his own children. He still teaches students today and is also busy writing some books on music.