City Secret – Finding Noor Jehan in Karachi

Rest in Peace in Karachi. The lady pregnant with celestial fire. This piece of land in Gizri Graveyard has bits of you, me and every Pakistani. Allah Wasai, Noor Jehan or Malka-e-Tarranum, call her whatever you like, chances are that you have spent sometime listening to her timeless melodies. She defined music for decades in what was to become Pakistan. She sang well over 10,000 songs, acted and directed movies and contributed in political activism by singing progressive writers’ poems in the days of tyranny.

Her legendary rendition of Faiz’s ‘mujh se pehli si mohabbat’ became a symbol of people’s movement in the days when very few dared to sing progressive poets and invite wrath of the oppressive leaders. The timing of the rendition was fitting as Faiz himself was in the jail and state radio and press totally ignored his presence. During the same time, the country suffered from devastating floods. Noor Jehan was asked to contribute to fund raising by recording voluntarily. She chose ‘Mujh se Pehli si muhabat’, a song relevant to those times. For obvious reasons, she was forced to chose another song but she refused and eventually the song was recorded. The song was destined to reverberate Pakistani masses’ imagination for times to come. When Faiz came to know of it, he dedicated the poem to Noor jehan and applauded her bravery. Difficult times, it seems, got the best out of her. In 1965, when subcontinent indulged in war madness, She sang some memorable patriotic songs with fervor.

In 2000 in Karachi, She suffered a heart attack. On December 23, 2000, Noor Jehan breathed her last. She was destined to become a Karachi walla for eternity although she wished to be buried in Lahore. To get to her resting place, enter the graveyard from the gate close to Shafqat Mosque in DHA. You will find it 100 meters away on your left.

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  1. City Secret – Finding Noor Jehan in Karachi | Tea Break - August 6, 2011

    […] City Secret – Finding Noor Jehan in Karachi […]

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