LAHORE: Every era has its crop of legendary singers and when they die, they become bookmarks for that specific era. The fourth death anniversary of Pakistani folk singer Reshma was observed on Thursday. 

She was highly dynamic and versatile singer, who enthralled the world with her powerful singing. Her singing style in Punjabi was full-throated and unabashedly mesmerizing. She was awarded several national awards including the prestigious award Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Star of Distinction) by the president of Pakistan.

Reshma rose to fame at a very young age of 12 years old. She was spotted singing at Shahbaz Qalander’s shine by TV and radio producer Saleem Gilani, who recorded her song ‘Laal Meri’ on Pakistan radio which became a massive hit among the masses.

Due to pirated tapes at that time her songs became famous across the border.  It was in the year 1980’s Reshma was able to perform live in India. Subhash Ghai used her voice in the film Hero, which featured one of her most famous songs, ‘Lambi Judai’.

Born in Rajasthan, India in a nomadic Banjara household, her family rehabilitated to Karachi after the partition of India. Her fans gave her the title of ‘Nightingale of Desert’.

Some of her famous songs include ‘Dama Dam Mast Kalandar’, ‘Hai O' Rabba nahion lagda dil mera’, ‘Sun charkhe di mithi mithi khook mahiya meinu yaad aunda’, ‘Lambi Judai’ and ‘Ankhiyan no rehen de ankhyan de kol kol’.

Reshma was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1980s. In later years, her health deteriorated, leading President Pervez Musharraf to come to her aid, giving her Rs one million to help pay off a bank loan, as well as putting her on a secured assistance of Rs 10,000 per month. She died due to throat cancer in 2013 after being in coma for a month. With her death country lost a legendary singer and her services would always be remembered for a long time to come.

Actor cum Singer Bushra Ansari talking to The Nation said, “Her voice was so powerful that once who listened to her used to get mesmerized in it. She was a beautiful soul and a legendary folk singer which is hard to find in Pakistan. When I listened to her Rajastani song Phol Banro, I got really impressed and decided to record it.  When the song was recorded she came to me and said where you found this song. She said she was glad that I had sung it very well because she thought I did not know how to speak in Punjabi,” she said.

Singer Shujat Ali Khan of Sham Churasi gharana said, “Reshma’s songs used to convey a message of peace and love. They way she used to put a woolen shawl from Sindh on her shoulder and present Pakistan across the globe was respectable. She will always be remembered because of her wonderful songs and all the young artistes should get inspiration from her,” he said.