Ara Syed: A source of inspiration
By Anis Ahmed
sheher ka mausum bara suhana lagay
aik shaam churaloon agar bura na lagay
A society that values excellence in the
field of entertainment has richer cultural existence. Pakistani society is very rich culturally.
That said, renowned vocalist, Gulshan Are Syed, brought laurels to the Indo- Pakistani music through
her magical voice.
Gulshan Ara was born and bred in Bangladesh and by dint of desire and perseverance; she was thriving
ahead of her fellow citizens.
Her true-life story is an instance of human excellence and personal success. She was attracted to
music at a young age and took music lessons from ustaad Ghulam Mohammad Khan and Riaz uddin Khan.
What Gulshan Ara learned among other things was a virtuoso of raags, sur, taal, and rhythmic cycles
that are essential to Indo- Pakistani classical music. She devoted much of her precious time to master the music.
Daily practice is needed to hone the strengths necessary to break into a field. It is also the norm
of successful people at their zenith.
Barely a teenager, she seemed programmed for fame. Alongside music, Gulshan Ara continued her academic
education and successfully graduated from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Gulshan Ara moved to Pakistan in 1979 and settled
She debuted from Islamabad television entertainment program, ‘Khushbu’, in 1980. The ghazal
‘Zindigi ki rahoan mein’ in the voice of Gulshan Ara can evoke so many memories.
Looking back over her long singing career, we come across renditions like the one below:
‘Ghungru toot gaye’.
Gulshan Ara is a vocalist whose voice is so innately appealing, so fresh- spirited, that one is able
to fathom the depths of emotion. Below is a quick example:
‘Humnay tum ko pyar kiya’.
In fact, some of the ghazals are a re-enactment of the love once celebrated in songs and stories,
like the poetry of Daagh Dehelvi below:
‘Meray kabu mein na’.
Gulshan Ara has built a phenomenal career on being versatile. That is part of what sets her so far
above her competitors. Additionally, her charm and artistic virtuosity has won every heart. Below is an accomplishment of
Gulshan Ara from the music program ‘Mahek’, which was telecast from NTM. The words were torn straight from her
‘Tum say milay jab say nain’.
Gulshan Ara perks up with glee whenever she finds some reflection of her performance in the eyes of
her loyal fans. Moreover, she invests every fiber of her body to the song as she lifts up her voice with strength.
Equally impressive was Khwaja Fareed Sabri’s Kafi, in raag darbari, ‘Ishq da jalwa subhan
Allah’, which exemplifies Gulshan Ara’s dedication to music. Gulshan Ara found her passion in life and pursued
it. Better yet, she renewed the passion in our lives.
Speaking of improvement, her presentation just keeps getting better. Below is a Sindhi loak geet by
Gulshan Ara that conveys the loyalty of the Pakistani nation:
‘Damadam mast qalandar.’
Gulshan Ara’s legendary singing voice has resonated among people of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi
origin. Reverting to her singing prowess, it seems that Gulshan Ara knew just how to make a niche for herself. The secret
of how she does it is in her great compassion and most of all, a strong belief in her-self.
Additionally, she brings to the ghazal the sobering sense of a true vocalist. Below is an appropriate
‘Gham-e-dil suna nay ko.’
So great is her intelligence and charm that those who know her adore her. Her enormous talents range
from ghazals to loak geet to songs. Increasingly, though, her attention was turned to ghazal singing. A ghazal like the one
below continue to keep memories of her singing voice green:
‘Hum tasawwar tera.’
Gulshan Ara’s songs have a heart- felt sound. It is all abut capturing ones inner feelings.
The ghazal below in raag darbari exemplifies this point:
‘Dil laganay ki kisi say.’
Likewise, she became the awe and envy of her admirers with ‘Chun chun kaliyan mein gajray bana
What is unparalleled about this vocalist is that her sweetness is so profound that it could enliven
spirit, like the rendition below:
‘Kahay ko jhuti.’
Perhaps, Gulshan Ara has never been closer to perfection as she was in ‘Tumharay sheher ka mausum
bara suhana lagay.’
Spinning magic with her voice, she rules the hearts and minds of the audience, wherever she goes.
Most importantly, willing listeners did not have the heart to break the spell that Gulshan Ara has woven through her lilting
Through the years, she earned the Nigar Award in Pakistan and won the title of ‘Queen of ghazals’,
in India. Gulshan Ara came up with a dozen cassettes of ghazals and songs.
At this juncture, inquisitive reader let me concede one amazing fact about Gulshan Ara. She can sing
in twelve languages, including English, French, and Chinese.
Similarly, she could record songs in various regional languages like ‘Pushto’, ‘Baluchi’,
‘Sindhi’, ‘Punjabi’ and ‘Bengali’.
In the past quarter of a century, singer Gulshan Ara has influenced scores of young, aspiring boys
and girls, who are desirous to adopt the same profession.
Gulshan Ara’s wistful
voice will continue to be a source of inspiration and enjoyment for the music lovers.