Seventh death anniversary of great legendary classical musician and singer Malika Pukhraj was observed by all the private and national forums on Friday with glowing tributes paid to her selfless service in the field of music.
Malika Pukhraj was termed as a highly popular singer of Pakistan. She was generally called as “Malika” meaning The Queen.
She is extremely popular for her rendition of Hafeez Jalandhri’s song, “Abhi To Main Jawan Hoon” (I am still youthful), which is enjoyed by millions not only in Pakistan, but also in India.
Her popular numbers were, Lo Phir Basant Aaya and Quli Qutub’s Piya Baaj Piyale Piya Jaye Na and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Mere Qatil Mere Dildar Mere Paas Raho.
Malika Pukhraj was born in village Mirpur on the banks of the River Akhnoor, 16 miles from Jammu and as she grew up her mother moved to Kanak Mandi area of Jammu, in present Jammu and Kashmir, where she spent early years of her life.
She was given the name “Malika” at birth, by ‘Majzoob’, ‘Baba Roti Ram, a spiritualist, in Akhnoor area, and named Pukhraj by her Aunt.
Malika Pukhraj was coached by Ustad Ali Baksh Kasuri – father of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan. At age nine, she visited Jammu and performed at coronation ceremony of Maharaja Hari Singh, who got so impressed by her voice that she appointed a court singer in his Durbar, and stayed there for another nine years.
Malika Pukhraj get marrie to Syed Shabbir Hussain Shah, a Government Officer and had 6 children, including Safiea, her eldest daughter; Tahira Syed, one of Malika Pukhraj’s two daughters, emerged as a well-known singer in her own right.
Over the next 8 decades she captivated her audience with her command over the singing genres of Thumri, Ghazal, Bhajan and folk Pahari Geet, including Dogri folk songs.
She was among the greatest singers of British India in the 1940s, and after partition of India-Pak in 1947, she migrated to Lahore, Pakistan, where she received further fame through her radio performances with composer, Kale Khan.
In 1980, she received the Presidential Pride of Performance Award, Pakistan.
In 1977, when All India Radio, for which she sang until partition, was celebrating its Golden Jubilee, she was invited to India and awarded with the ‘legend of Voice’ award.
Malika Pukhraj also recorded her memoirs in the novel Song Sung True.
Malika Pukhraj, died in Lahore on February 4, 2004 and laid to rest at her ancestral ‘Shah Jamal’ graveyard in Lahore.