It was a fine Sunday when some of my friends were making plans to watch the newly released movie ‘Waar’. They were all happy that our cinema industry is reviving and good Pakistani movies have started to appear on our cinema screens. There was a hot debate going on the movie and everyone was sharing what he had heard or read about it when one among us got a tweet which he read and whispered, “We have lost one more gem of our music industry.” Everyone started looking at him with curious eyes that whose name he was going to utter and he said, “Reshma Jee has passed away.” Reshma left this mortal world giving her fans ‘lambi Judai’.
One by one our music stars are leaving us. Some left the music industry even before departing from this world like Zubaida Khanumand; and some are making their fans grieved with their deaths after suffering quite a long illness. The list of this grief is long and Reshma is another name added to it. She was born in undivided India in 1947 in a gypsy family who migrated to Karachi shortly after the Partition of India. At that time she was just one month old.
Known as Malika-e-Registan (The Desert Queen) and ‘Nightingale of the Desert’, Reshma never got any formal education. She loved singing which she started at her very early age. She was twelve when she was first spotted singing at Shahbaaz Qalandar's shrine by a television and radio producer who introduced her on Pakistan Radio. From that day to onward Reshma came to be known all over Pakistan and India. She became one of the most popular folk singers of Pakistan, appearing on television in the 1960s. She sang a number of songs for Pakistani and Indian film industry. Although she was not comfortable in speaking Urdu and Hindi but she sang super hit songs in these languages. The very famous song ‘Lambi Judai’, she sang for Subhash Ghai’s film Hero. Some of her famous songs are ‘Dama Dam Mast Kalandar’, ‘Hai O Rabba nahion lagda dil mera’, ‘Sun charkhe di mithi mithi cook’, ‘Wey main chori chori’, and ‘Ankhiyan no rehen de ankhyan de kol kol’. During her career she was also invited to meet Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Reshma was an international star who had mesmerised the people all over the world with her melodious voice but any material gains or commercial pressure could not ever overpower her decent personality. She remained unaffected by fame which she earned in her very early age. She once said that “the borders do not matter to me... because, an artiste belongs to all.” She was innocently oblivious to the complexities of the materialistic world. She always loved to clad herself in Rajasthani salwar kameez during her concerts. During her life she was awarded several national awards like 'Sitara-i-Imtiaz' and 'Legends Of Pakistan' given by the President of Pakistan.
In form of Reshma we have lost not only a music icon but we have lost one of the most genuine, humble and honest people that this nation has ever known. Passing away of Reshma means an era has passed away. She was an institution in her personality which will remain a source of inspiration for folk singers to come in future. Reshma is no more present among us but her legacy and melodious voice will always be with her fans.