Dilli door nest

gulshanarasyed.jpgBureaucratic ploys of Indian and Pakistani diplomats might consecrate each country resulting into biasness and hallucination amongst their masses to consider the “other” country lacking diversity? But music plays pivotal role in the precedence for lessening the geo-political dithering all around. Pakistani ghazal singer Gulshan Ara Syed is an artist who promulgates the fairy tale of an enduring tie between two emerging powers of Asia. Her melodious voice is above the topnotch laurels — on stream to the music lovers. 

One of her concerts held in Delhi recently delighted all to defy the world through this Persian saying; Dilli door nest (Delhi is not far away). The lovely evening was a tribute to the legendry poet Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib at Ghalib Institute, New Delhi. She sang poems of Ghalib in her melodious voice accompanied by various musical instruments. Performances by Gulshan Ara Syed are adored as much in Lahore as in Delhi, Kolkata, Dhaka and other parts of the glob. She has been the champion of people to people contact, though she herself describes it “heart to heart contact” and feels on being in her own country wherever she goes. It is “her country” wherever she has visited. “Only at the time of applying for a visa or getting it stamped I feel that I am going to the other country”, she says.   Born and brought up in Bangladesh, Gulshan Ara Syed was destined for fame as a global citizen. Her achievement didn’t come overnight. Hard work and constant riyaaz fruition her unending glory: she complied the professional tantrums of singers Farida Khanum, Mehdi Hassan, Iqbal Bano and Ghulam Ali. Constant challenges inspired her to remain in the mainstream musical fraternity. Her moving to Pakistan from Bangladesh in 1980 was too much difficult for a 20 something Bangali girl. It was tough to make a place there. She didn’t know that destiny had bigger plans for her. Sooner she got break on the Pakistan TV. From then she never looked back and continuously stooped forward with her appealing voice. And she shot to fame with her famous ghazals, zindagi ki raahon mein, ghungroo toot gaye…and dil laga ke kisi se…amongst others. But her all time favourite is tumhare shehr ka mausam bara suhana lage. The fact is there are lot of famous Urdu ghazals that became popular only after Gulshan Ara Syed lent her voice to their verses. 

Many Pakistani singers have a limited canvass confined to either ghazals or songs. But Gulshan Ara is a versatile artiste whose voice suits to each form of music. Her comment on the remix culture is aggressive. She opines that remix rules today’s generation and she too plans to do a ‘remix’ of her old songs, particularly of the 1980s. Upon asking on who is her godfather, she replies, “people often ask me who was your role model but this is all absurd.” “Main kisi ki tarah banna nahin chahti hoon. Mein chahti hoon ke jo bhi ho mera apna hi naam ho” (I don’t want to be like anyone else. I want to make a name for myself on my own).  Music is a powerful source of entertainment. Traditions and cultures are embedded with it. Gulshan Ara’s talent unquestionably matches with a lot of performers of the sub continent.  

Her remarkable appearance in the programme Khushboo for PTV in 1980 was a biggest television exposure for her. She didn’t look back and bagged countless achievements and awards including the prestigious Nigar Graduate award of Pakistan. In the late eighties India crowned her with the Queen of Ghazal award. Over the years Gulshan Ara has launched more than a dozen cassettes of ghazals and songs. She mastered the skill of performing in thirteen languages of the globe including Chinese and French. At this level of success she still longs for more and considers these accomplishments a part of the ongoing achievement. She is determined and knows that still there is scope to do more for reaching at the zenith of success. 

gulshan-ara-syed4.jpegShe pays rich tribute to her ustaads Ghulam Mohammad Khan and Riaz-ud-Din Khan besides respecting her idols Mehdi Hassan, Fareeda Khanum, Iqbal Bano and Ghulam Ali and last but not the least her caring fans. She dedicated her famous ghazal tumharay sheher ka mausam…to the city by the bay, San Francisco. Her memorable singing successes are Dagh Dehlvi’s ghazal meray kabo main na…,Khwaja Fareed Sabri’s Ishq Da Jalwa – Subhan Allah…People like them and recognize as few of her great performances. She also sang the poems of veteran poets Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ahmad Faraz that is appreciated around the world. 

Each and every appreciative audience notices her mellifluous voice and the command over raag raagni. Although she sang lots of ghazals the one that garnered popularity for her is the famous tumharey shehr ka mausam bara suhana lagey… Many singers of the subcontinent have sung this ghazal, but none could give it that special touch that she had had. She sings each of the couplets bearing in mind the essence of that poetry remains intact. Her compositions are in commensuration with the original feeling of the poetry. 

Societies that value excellence are culturally rich. So does Pakistan, which has rich culture because of artists, like Gulshan Are Syed. She brought laurels to music by her magical voice in whole of the subcontinent. She was attracted to music at a very young age and took music lessons from ustaad Ghulam Mohammad Khan and Riaz-ud-Din Khan. She learnt virtuoso of raags, sur, taal, and rhythmic cycles; essential parts of the Indo-Pakistani classical music. 

Gulshan Ara built phenomenal career on being versatile above her competitors. Her charm and artistic virtuosity has won the hearts of the masses. Her uniqueness is her perking up with the glee whenever she finds smallest of appreciation on her performance in the eyes of her loyal fans. Moreover, she invests each and every fiber of her body to the song as she lifts up her voice with that much of strength. Ishq da jalwa subhan Allah…. exemplifies Gulshan Ara’s dedication to music. 
She knows how to make a niche for herself and how she does it is in her great compassion and most of all, strong belief in self. Her enormous talent ranges from ghazals to lok geet to songs. Her songs have a heartfelt sound that captures ones’ inner feelings. She became the awe and envy of her admirers with chun chun kaliyan mein gajray bana oon gee…Philosophy of her performance is her wistful voice that would continue to be a source of inspiration for the music lovers worldwide.

Asif Anwar Alig,
Editorial Coordinator,
Vision – the Journal of Business Perspective,
Management Development Institute, Gurgaon (India).