Muhammad Asif (b. 1951) is a Pakistani luthier and proprietor of Bombay Music Store, one of the last sitar shops in Lahore. Opened by his father Muhammad Azim c. 1925, the store supplied Radio Pakistan and various artists with a range of string instruments: from tanpuras to sitars. Muhammad Asif claims that his ancestors made scabbards in the Mughal era, much like Ziauddin, another sitar maker in the vicinity.
One of his brothers, Muhammad Akram (who died in 2017), used to specialize in making harmoniums while, on the other hand, another of his brothers, Muhammad Alam, was a sitar player. Muhammad Asif helped lawyer and intellectual Raza Kazim create the sagar veena, a novel instrument that is similar to the chitra veena. It broke new ground in the music industry through its revolutionary design in 1970, which included its sliding bridge, impressive resonance, and fretless neck.
Muhammad Alam’s children do not help him at his shop in Bansanwala Bazar, but are government employees, an occupation their father approves of due to its financial security.
Save the Sitar has interviewed Muhammad Asif. To learn more about him and his unique store, check out his interview, Bombay in Lahore.
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