In 1987, Zaman set up the State of Bengal group in London after a visit to Noakhali, Bangladesh, where he interacted with traditional folk musicians and dancers. Original members of the group included his youngest brother Deedar Zaman (later became vocalist of Asian Dub Foundation) who was 7, and MC Mushtaq (later became the lead rapper for Fun-Da-Mental) who was 15. Outside of the State of Bengal project, Zaman also worked with British Asian youth groups, setting up music training workshops. After working in a variety of communities from across the country, they founded a record company called Betelnut Productions.
Formerly a teacher, Zaman worked at youth centres. State of Bengal was a DJ at the Anokha club in London's East End during the mid-1990s. His tracks "Flight IC408" and "Chittagong Chill" – written and produced with Matt Mars – were featured on Anokha – Soundz of the Asian Underground compilation, and helped him gain prominence. Singer Björk discovered his work at Anokha; he opened with the homeogenic world tour, and remix her track "Hunter" after hearing the original "Hunter" by State of Bengal in September 1996, thereby signing to the One Little Indian record label. After Anokha, State of Bengal took up residency at the Off Centre club nights, he produced his debut album Visual Audio in 1998 and then toured solo at several international festivals, and did extensive remix work.