It was the third day of Eid ul Azha. Late at night I was sitting with my family and watching TV when my cell phone beeped. It was a SMS (short text message) from a friend informing me about the death of our singing star Zubaida Khanum. The sad news tinged the happy endings of Eid and harked back a lot of people into the past of 50s and 60s when the melodious singer used to rule the Lollywood industry. She was an undisputed playback singer of Urdu and Punjabi songs of her time.

Zubaida Khanum, eldest in her siblings, was born in Amritsar in 1935 and moved to Pakistan with her family after 1947. She was passionate for singing since her childhood and she was first spotted singing in her school. She faced lot of opposition from her family over singing because no one in her family ever did this before. Instead of paying heed to any criticism she pursued her passion and soon to be known as melodious queen. She recorded almost 250 songs during her career and among those more than 150 became super hit.

Elderly people belong to that era recall that they used to glue to radios sets, which were very uncommon in those days and only well-off people used to have their own radio sets, to listen the soul-stirring songs of Zubaida Khanum. “It was a time when beautiful voices like Zubaida Khanum and Madam Noor Jehan used to rule the airwave of radio and our film industry was doing its best,” said Mr Altaf who was a student at that time and was a big fan of her.

The young generations may know little about this legendary singer but they cherish her songs ‘Aaye mausam rangeelay suhane’ played or sung at almost every wedding. Similarly, a famous na’at ‘Shaahe-e-Madina’ commonly sung at milads and religious events was first sung by Zubaida Khanum.

Khanum was first introduced in the film ‘Billoo’ in 1951, but it was her playback singing in ‘Shehri Babu’ in 1953 that took her to the heights of stardom in the Pakistani film industry. Besides singing for many popular films like Sarfarosh, Hameeda, Sath Lakh, Baghi and giving voice to many lovelorn, Khanum also acted in a handful of films including Morni and Patey Khan alongside the late Noor Jehan.

Khanum had to obey after her marriage for what she took a bold stand before her marriage. She got married to Riyaz Bokhari when she was at the height of her career. After marriage she was asked to quit singing and showbiz industry, which obeyed as loyal and truthful wife. She restricted herself only to domestic chores and concentrated her children’s upbringing. She even restrained herself from attending any showbiz activity or appearing on TV shows for any interview.

Her death has broken another thread to the memories of bygone days. Although she is no more present among us but her sensuous songs are still heard and are the integral part of our joys. She left this mortal world at the age of 78 on 19th October which was the death anniversary of her husband; but she will live forever in the hearts of her fans.