Remembering the ‘Queen of Folk’ Reshma on her Eight Death Anniversary


The Eight death anniversary of Pakistani folk singer Reshma was observed on Wednesday. Born in Rajasthan, India in a nomadic Banjara household in 1947, Reshma’s family relocated to Karachi after the Partition of India. Discovered by a local producer at the age of twelve while singing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan, Sindh, Reshma went on to record various folk songs for such labels as the Pakistan Radio. Her first project with the company Laal Meri was an instant hit and she was catapulted to fame with several television appearances in the 1960s.




Reshma was born in the village of Loha, Ratangarh tehsil of Churu district, near Bikaner, Rajasthan around 1947. Her father, Haji Muhammad Mushtaq, was a camel and horse trader from Malashi. She belonged to a tribe which had converted to Islam. Her tribe migrated to Karachi shortly after the Partition of India, when she was just one month old.


Career and Breakthrough


Reshma was spotted, at the age of 12, singing at the Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar by then Pakistani television and radio producer, Saleem Gilani. Gilani arranged for her to make a recording of “Laal Meri Pat Rakhio” on Radio Pakistan in 1968. During her career she was invited to meet Indian Prime Minister Indra Gandhi. Awarded with Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Distinction), the third highest honour and civilian award in Pakistan among other honours, she is remembered for folk songs and her powerful singing voice. Reshma went on to record songs for both the Pakistani and Indian film industry. Some of her most memorable songs include Laal Meri”, “Hai O Rabba Nahion Lagda Dil Mera”, “Ankhiyan Nu Rehen De” and “Lambi Judaiamong others.




Reshma was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1980s. In later years, her health deteriorated, leading President Pervez Musharraf to come to her aid, giving her one million Rupees to help pay off a bank loan, as well as putting her on a secured assistance of 10,000 rupees per month. He also helped her secure a plot of land for herself, but that did not go through due to the change in government. She died on 3 November 2013 in Lahore, Pakistan, after suffering from throat cancer for several years.



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