Ghulam Abbas: Maximizer
of his gifts
Anis Ahmed Shakur
hari bhari Aabadiyaan geet gati waadian neelay gagun kay talay
Sometimes, ordinary people do extraordinary
things and have extraordinary thoughts. Below is the story of one such person.
Ghulam Abbas, who is blessed with a unique blend of resonant voice and a lasting passion for music, was born in
Multan, Pakistan, in a conservative family.
Like some of his predecessors, he did not possess any musical background.
God Almighty bestowed him a very impressive singing voice and he used it to recite hamd and naat in public gathering
as a child.
He moved to Lahore at a young age and settled there.
In Lahore, barely a teenager, he developed an intimate knowledge of various faculties of music and pursued his
academic education as well.
He seemed to incorporate the basics of music rapidly into his songs.
With the passage of time, Ghulam Abbas passed and received up to and including a master’s degree. It was
a formidable achievement.
Composer Mushtaq Ali selected Ghulam Abbas for his film ‘Aashiq loag saudaye’. What a perfect choice
Thus, Ghulam Abbas recorded his debut song in the film ‘Aashiq loag saudaye’ in 1977.
Mehdi Hasan listened to that song and he was so overwhelmed by his gifted voice that he called Ghulam Abbas and
advised him to take music lessons from a teacher.
On Ghulam Abbas’s request, Mehdi Hasan introduced him to Ustaad Ismail Khan Saheb.
Incidentally, Ismail Saheb also happens to be the uncle and mentor of Mehdi Hasan.
Essentially, the message of his teacher was ‘you can do anything that you want. It is your hour’.
From that time on, there was no look back for Ghulam Abbas.
Subsequently, he started honing his God-gifted voice and devoted the rest of his life to a ferocious discipline.
In fact, the unparalleled pathos and longing in Mehdi Hasan’s unmatched voice is best reflected in the vocal
cords of Ghulam Abbas.
His songs are all masterpieces and entertaining—but for film fans, the presentation is tantalizing.
Below are three examples:
‘Jan-e-tamanna kab tak tum na pyar mera pehchano gey.’ The film ‘Aashi’, July 1, 1977.
‘Teray naal lar gaye nain’. The film ‘Daagh’, Ghulam Abbas- Noor Jehan.
‘Yoon to her shaks nay duniya mein mohabbat ki hai, hum nay aye jaan-e-wafa teri ibadat ki hai’. The
Below are two songs that are well worth remembering:
‘Hum na tarsain kabhi phir khushi kay liye.’ The film ‘Intikhab’, June 2, 1978.
‘Tu meray pyar ka geet hai, tu meray dil ki Aawaz hai.’ The platinum jubilee film ‘Aawaz’,
October 27, 1978.
His songs are as much revered now as they were in the past. Below is a song of hope, rendered by Ghulam Abbas and
pictured on Waheed Murad in the open sky and the fruited plains:
‘Ye hari bhari Aabadiyaan.’ The film ‘Aawaz’
It is not just about the voice. It is about the total experience. Fortunately, Ghulam Abbas offered both.
His patriotic involvement and commitment are well known. He sang a national song, which is an inspirational entertainment
‘Aye pak watan, Aye pak zameen, tera din moti, teri raat nageen.’
His singing style has made the lyrics more vivid and effective.
Partly, it was the sheer novelty of him. Ghulam Abbas was a new man for a new time—the 1970s onwards.
His voice is as good as gold. He lived up to his initial promise. Below are three examples:
‘Is duniya mein yaar hum to rahay Anari.’ Ghulam Abbas- Mehdi Hasan. The film ‘Behan bhai’,
January 19, 1979.
‘Milja ta hai yaar magar pyar naheen milta.’ The film ‘Pakeeza’, April 20, 1979.
‘Mein tujh say pyar karoan ga, ye iqraar karoan ga’ Ghulam Abbas- Mehnaz, the film ‘Pakeeza.’
With every new song, he continually strived to make a difference, to better his performance. He achieved fame with
such favorites as the three below:
‘Tujhay deikh kay yoon lagta hai mujhay.’ Ghulam Abbas- Naheed Akhtar.
‘Meray khaboan ki tabeer hai to. ‘ Mr. Ranjha’, April 27, 1979.
‘Jab jab mujh ko yaad karo gey.’ The film ‘Hum dono’, February 25, 1980.
‘Aaj Milan ki raat, sajna sajni dono saat.’ The diamond jubilee film ‘La jawab’, February
Ghulam Abbas seemed as goal-oriented as a person could be.
In the past few years he has learned all about the highs and lows of being a singer.
He has really done everything he possibly could to do justice to the songs.
In his renditions, ordinary things capture the tranquility of these lyrics. Below are three examples of the magnificence
of his voice:
‘Mera tujh say aisa bandhan hai.’ The film ‘Qurbani’, May 22, 1981.
‘Ik baar milo hum say to sau baar milain gey.’ The diamond jubilee film ‘Bobby’, September
‘Ik dujay day bun kay raheye.’ Ghulam Abbas- Mehnaz. The film ‘Roti,’ December 9, 1988.
His articulations of turns, enunciation of emphasis, pauses and stresses belong to the most creative dimension
of virtuosity. One may recall many songs to exemplify this point. Below is one example:
‘Nishani meray pyar ki, ye dori intizaar ki, tu hai meray liye, mein hoon teray liye, ruth ho khizaan ki
ya bahaar ki.’
One marvels at his comprehension of words, as one listens to his songs.
Those of us who are a connoisseur or a longtime fan of Ghulam Abbas, may well understand that he was able to produce
an unparallel style that appealed to music lovers.
Hence, the simplicity and innocence of his voice stunned the masses. Below are three examples:
‘Haarnay walay jeet bhi jaaye, jeetnay walay haar bhi jaaye.’ The film ‘Mazboot’, September
‘Jo dar gaya wo mar gaya.’ The film ‘Mazboot.’
‘Deikh kar tujh ko mein gham dil kay bhula dayda hoon, raat din tujh ko mein jeenay ki dua dayda hoon.’
The film ‘Mehmaan.’
In real life, he is an amazingly humble person. Thus, his elegant simplicity influenced many admirers.
Adorable as he is, his fans become exuberant as they listen to the three numbers below:
‘Zindigi tunay her qadam pay mujhay aik sapna naya dikhaya hai, kabhi hanstay huay rulaya hai, kabhi rotay
huay hansaya hai.’ The film ‘Maazi haal mustaqbil.’
‘Wo Aa to jaaye magar intizaar he kab hai.’ The film ‘Ajnabi.’
‘Jab jab aik larki nay.’ The film ‘Aag aur zindigi.’
He had a passionate ambition, determination and yearning for music. That he succeeded in making the most of every
opportunity is undisputed. Songs like the three below managed to evoke interest among the listeners:
‘Pyar karnay ka irada hai.’ The film ‘Aag aur zindigi.’
‘Aye dost teri Aankhein.’ The film ‘Aashi.’
‘Ye Aap ki mehfil hai.’ The film ‘Do dil.’
The will to succeed is part of the Pakistani culture. Being a representative of the popular culture, combined with
his passion for perfection, lead Ghulam Abbas to only work harder.
Listed below are three songs, which he rendered with inspiring conviction.
‘Tujh say shikwa kya naheen.’ The film ‘Do dil.’
‘Geet meray pyar ka.’ The film ‘Hum dono.’
‘Deewana kaheen tum ko na.’ The film ‘Deewaar.’
His instant hits and eternal songs earned him four Nigar Awards:
Ghulam Abbas won the Nigar Award for best singer in the film ‘Maazi haal mustaqbil’ in 1978.
Ghulam Abbas won the Nigar Award for best singer in the film ‘Qurbani’ in 1981.
Ghulam Abbas won the Nigar Award for best singer in the film ‘Insaniyat’ in 1993.
Ghulam Abbas won the Nigar Award for best singer in the film ‘Rani beti raaj
karay gee’ in 1994.
Ghulam Abbas, who thrived in the shadow of Mehdi Hasan, always looked to him for wisdom, guidance and reassurance.
Years ago, Ghulam Abbas was advised to focus on what he did best and that success would follow.
He always remembered that suggestion. He followed this advice to a tee in his later songs.
Most of all Ghulam Abbas never
let down his adorers. He never has and hopefully he never will.