Reshma: The Nightingale of the Desert

Remembering the legendry voice of the desert on her fourth Death Anniversary

Reshma the unforgettable voice from the sandy lands became one the greatest folk singer in the history of Subcontinent. She mesmerized large audiences by her beautiful voice and received overwhelming affection and respect by millions of admirers worldwide. Reshma hailed from nomadic community and was born to a family in Bikaner India which later migrated to Karachi soon after the creation of Pakistan.  At the tender age of 12 Reshma recorded the song Lal Meri on Pakistan Radio despite of the fact that her extraordinary singing talent was never taken seriously by her family. Her first public performance was at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Shewan Sindh where she was discovered by famous Radio producer Saleem Gilani. The young Reshma was instantly approached by Gilani for a song recording at Radio Pakistan Karachi. Reshma’s family had left Karachi soon after the song was recorded without even informing Gilani therefore the family had to be traced once the song was aired. Reshma’s extraordinary voice ruled the airwaves and in no time she emerged as one of the greatest folk singers in the history of the Subcontinent.   During the 1960’s Reshma after making her debut on television as a singer instantly won acclaim not only in Pakistan but across the border. Successive Pakistani governments sent her to international music concerts in different parts of the world as she was undisputedly one of the best singers of the nation.  Reshma through her work and achievements proved the fact that “art knows no boundaries.” Besides contributing to the Pakistan film and music industry she also made tremendous contributions to the Indian film industry. Her hit song Ankhiyon Ko Rehne Do was sung by Lata Mangeskhar for film Bobby. Filmmaker Subhash Ghai used one of her best hits Lambi Judai in his film Hero in 1983. The Indians on recognizing her extra ordinary talent invited her to India where she had the honor of meeting the late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Some interesting facts regarding the legendry singer Reshma are as follows.

  • Reshma for the most part spent her childhood at shrines of Sindhi mystics.
  • She had no formal training in music yet won the hearts of millions of people across the globe by her fascinating voice.
  • Reshma was a vegetarian and abstained herself from eating meat however her favorite food was mustard greens and corn bread.
  • The Government of Pakistan in recognition of her tremendous achievements honored her with Pride of performance in 1982. She was also awarded the Sitara-i-Imitiaz by the President of Pakistan in recognition to her achievements.
  • Reshma in one of her interviews recalled her visit to the Great Wall of China where she sang the song Hayo Rabba Nahi Lagda Dil Mera  and was applauded by foreign visitors.

Reshma after fighting a long battle with throat cancer passed away on 2rd November 2013 she is survived by two children. She shall always be remembered as the unforgettable voice of the desert that touched millions of hearts worldwide. Reshma will always remain alive in the hearts of her admirers around the world as one of the greatest gems of Pakistani society.

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