Legendary Pakistani singer, Reshma well known for her rustic voice and her folk songs passed away at Lahore yesterday after a long-drawn-out battle with throat cancer. She had been in coma for the past one month and had been diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. Her doctor, Mr. Rahim informed that she was undergoing several treatments for the same for quite a long time.
Reshma was born around in 1947 in Bikaner, Rajasthan, in a Banjara family. She was survived by son Umair and daughter Khadija. Her tribe had migrated to Karachi shortly after partition. Reshma who remained unaffected to the fame said, “the borders do not matter to me…because, an artiste belongs to all”. Widely known for her songs like ‘Dama Dam Mast Kalandar’ and ‘Lambi Judai’, Reshma was loved equally by Indians and Pakistanis. She believed that people in India showered her with a lot of admiration. She use to feel that people of Pakistan gave her respect, but in India also, people listened to her with lot of love. It did not matter to them that she was a Pakistani singer.
Although, Reshma received no formal education in music she got her first break at the age of 12. It was when she was spotted singing at the Shahbaz Qalander’s shrine by a television and radio producer, that she was approached to record the legendary song ‘Laal Meri’ on state-run Pakistan Radio. The song turned out to be a blockbuster hit and Reshma went on to become one of the most popular folk singers of Pakistan. The song appeared on television in the 1960s, and was recorded for both the Pakistani and Indian film industry. Her other hits include, ‘Hai O Rabba nahin lagda dil mera’ and ‘Ankhiyan no rehen de ankhyan de kol kol’.
Reshma was bestowed with several national awards including prestigious awards like ‘Sitara-i-Imtiaz’ and ‘Legends Of Pakistan’ given by the President of Pakistan. She started performing in India much later when the exchange between artists was sanctioned between India and Pakistan. Filmmaker Subhash Ghai was so impressed with her voice that he approached her to sing the super hit song, ‘Lambi Judai’ for his film, ‘Hero’.
The entire music industry mourned her death today. Shahram Azhar, lead singer of Pakistani band Laal, said, “Singers of that level and magnitude are an institution in themselves and her passing away means a complete era has passed away. ”It is a huge loss.” Pakistani band Junoon’s former guitarist Salman Ahmad tweeted. On the other hand Bollywood music composer Vishal Dadlani wrote on Twitter, “Tragic. RIP Reshma.”
— VISHAL DADLANI (@VishalDadlani) November 3, 2013