Gulshan Ara Syed: A source of inspiration
By Anis Shakur
Tumharay sheher ka mausum bara suhana lagay
Mein aik shaam churaloon agar bura na
A society that values excellence in the field of entertainment has richer cultural existence. Pakistani society is
very rich culturally.
That said, renowned vocalist, Gulshan Are Syed, brought laurels to the Indo- Pakistani music through her magical voice.
Gulshan Ara was born and bred in Bangladesh and by dint of desire and perseverance; she was thriving ahead of her fellow
Her true-life story is an instance of human excellence and personal success. She was attracted to music at a young age
and took music lessons from ustaad Ghulam Mohammad Khan and Riaz uddin Khan.
What Gulshan Ara learned among other things was a virtuoso of raags, sur, taal, and rhythmic cycles that are essential
to Indo- Pakistani classical music. She devoted much of her precious time to master the music.
Daily practice is needed to hone the strengths necessary to break into a field. It is also the norm of successful people
at their zenith.
Barely a teenager, she seemed programmed for fame. Alongside music, Gulshan Ara continued her academic education and
successfully graduated from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Gulshan Ara moved to Pakistan in 1979 and settled there.
She debuted from Islamabad television entertainment program, 'Khushbu', in 1980. The ghazal 'Zindigi ki rahoan mein'
in the voice of Gulshan Ara can evoke so many memories.
Looking back over her long singing career, we come across renditions like the one below:
'Ghungru toot gaye'.
Gulshan Ara is a vocalist whose voice is so innately appealing, so fresh- spirited, that one is able to fathom the depths
of emotion. Below is a quick example:
'Humnay tum ko pyar kiya'.
In fact, some of the ghazals are a re-enactment of the love once celebrated in songs and stories, like the poetry of
Daagh Dehelvi below:
'Meray kabu mein na'.
Gulshan Ara has built a phenomenal career on being versatile. That is part of what sets her so far above her competitors.
Additionally, her charm and artistic virtuosity has won every heart. Below is an accomplishment of Gulshan Ara from the music
program 'Mahek', which was telecast from NTM. The words were torn straight from her soul:
'Tum say milay jab say nain'.
Gulshan Ara perks up with glee whenever she finds some reflection of her performance in the eyes of her loyal fans. Moreover,
she invests every fiber of her body to the song as she lifts up her voice with strength.
Equally impressive was Khwaja Fareed Sabri's Kafi, in raag darbari, 'Ishq da jalwa subhan Allah', which exemplifies Gulshan
Ara's dedication to music. Gulshan Ara found her passion in life and pursued it. Better yet, she renewed the passion in our
Speaking of improvement, her presentation just keeps getting better. Below is a Sindhi loak geet by Gulshan Ara that
conveys the loyalty of the Pakistani nation:
'Damadam mast qalandar.'
Gulshan Ara's legendary singing voice has resonated among people of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi origin. Reverting
to her singing prowess, it seems that Gulshan Ara knew just how to make a niche for herself. The secret of how she does it
is in her great compassion and most of all, a strong belief in her-self.
Additionally, she brings to the ghazal the sobering sense of a true vocalist. Below is an appropriate example:
'Gham-e-dil suna nay ko.'
So great is her intelligence and charm that those who know her adore her. Her enormous talents range from ghazals to
loak geet to songs. Increasingly, though, her attention was turned to ghazal singing. A ghazal like the one below continue
to keep memories of her singing voice green:
'Hum tasawwar tera.'
Gulshan Ara's songs have a heart- felt sound. It is all abut capturing ones inner feelings. The ghazal below in raag
darbari exemplifies this point:
'Dil laganay ki kisi say.'
Likewise, she became the awe and envy of her admirers with 'Chun chun kaliyan mein gajray bana oon gee.'
What is unparalleled about this vocalist is that her sweetness is so profound that it could enliven spirit, like the
'Kahay ko jhuti.'
Perhaps, Gulshan Ara has never been closer to perfection as she was in 'Tumharay sheher ka mausum bara suhana lagay.'
Spinning magic with her voice, she rules the hearts and minds of the audience, wherever she goes. Most importantly, willing
listeners did not have the heart to break the spell that Gulshan Ara has woven through her lilting voice.
Through the years, she earned the Nigar Award in Pakistan and won the title of 'Queen of ghazals', in India. Gulshan
Ara came up with a dozen cassettes of ghazals and songs.
At this juncture, inquisitive reader let me concede one amazing fact about Gulshan Ara. She can sing in twelve languages,
including English, French, and Chinese.
Similarly, she could record songs in various regional languages like 'Pushto', 'Baluchi', 'Sindhi', 'Punjabi' and 'Bengali'.
In the past quarter of a century, singer Gulshan Ara has influenced scores of young, aspiring boys and girls, who are
desirous to adopt the same profession.
Gulshan Ara's wistful voice will continue to be a source of inspiration and enjoyment
for the music lovers.