PESHAWAR: Once popular in Pashto cultural Hujra music, the early age string music instrument sitar has been disappearing from the stage of Pashtuns cultural musical shows and has been widely replaced with advanced string musical instrument Rabab. This long neck string musical instrument is made of mulberry wood, the body being carved from a single block with a thin wooden table and a very low bridge about the height of a long stick. The strings pass over this bridge and are often fixed to a metal eye at the bottom of the body. The mulberry wood neck of the instrument is fixed to the body and there is a mulberry nut at the top leading to wooden winders for the strings. Like Rabab, sitar was a vital string instrument of Pashto Hujra music. It was some time played in the teahouses of Chitral in accompaniment of beautiful poetry. The Chitrali sitar was a popular musical instrument not only in Chitral but also in Ghizar, Gilgit and Hunza regions, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Afghanistan. Though it is still popular in Chitral musical shows, but unfortunately rarely used in Pakhtuns cultural music as its use is now very limited despite the presence of its players in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. People now mostly switched over to Rabab instead of sitar however the narrow sound of sitar was unforgettable part of Pashto cultural music which has been long used to attract large number of people to musical gathering in Hujras. Zainullah one of the prominent sitar player of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Charsadda district told this scribe that most people and music lover has now switched over to Rabab which has double sound as compare to sitar light music, however he informed that still some lovers of Sitar exists in various rural parts of the country. He added once there was a time that without sitar Hujra music was incomplete but with the passage of time Rabab overlap the music of Sitar. He said that experts either has been passed away and some disappeared. He said few experts like Wahab Gul of district Swabi and Shad Mohammad Ustad of district Mardan were the prominent Sitar player. “Though Shad Muhammad Ustad was one among the renowned Sitar Player but unfortunately much of his work has been lost and was not preserved by the cultural department. Pakistan Television Peshawar station and radio Pakistan are also responsible who did not care and preserved his art of Sitar playing,” Zainullah deplored. He said that Deputy Director Culture department Riaz Khan had assured him that he would open an academy for him but so far no steps has been taken for the preservation of this musical instrument and that was the reason that it was dying in Pashtun cultural music. Kiran Khan renowned Pashto singer while commenting on the downward trend of sitar in Pashtun cultural shows told this scribe that now the experts of Sitar are demanding high reward and they instead of respecting the profession inflicting loss on the cultural music and thus ultimately forcing the singer to record their songs without the sonata of Sitar. “We have still some good player of Sitar like Gohar Jan, Waqar Attal, Zainullah and many others but people have little interest in the music of Sitar and that is why it disappearing from the musical shows,” Kiran Khan disclosed. Waqar another expert of sitar who is also running his own academy said that he can teach both Sitar and Rabab but mostly of the students are interested in Rabab as sitar culture is dying in Pakhtuns cultural program. It is not popular as it was popular in the past. “We are struggling to revive this old string musical instrument along with Rabab and include it in every show but some time music lovers prefer Rabab instead of sitar.” Revival of Indigenous Cultural Heritage Project Director Arshad Hussain while talking to News Lens expressed disappointment that Pakhtuns do not love sitar as they prefer Rabab over sitar in cultural musical instruments. He said that sitar is now only limited to Chitral and northern areas of the country. He said unfortunately, in our musical shows people are least interested to make it part of Olassi Tang Takoor as compare to the earlier period. “We have a lot of talent of sitar players and early age expert still remembering the golden age of this musical device but due to use of other musical strange instruments, the role of sitar fall dim and now the teachers are also not interested to further educate the youngsters on the art of sitar,” Arshad Hussain remarked.