KARACHI - Severe criticism seems to take its toll on the art forms due to the treatment meted out to the same by our bigot society. The traditional culture of songs at wedding ceremonies is dying after their creators have faded from the scene. The melody queens of the good old days are gone... Where?... Why? With these questions troubling my mind, I visited Arshad Mehmood, the famed composer and a connoisseur of music at his Karachi office. Mehmood who was also gloomy to see the bleak picture said, 'Let me tell you this much, everybody has a sense of listening great music but only a few are bestowed with the talent of producing the great music. Here in Pakistan, the case is not different." So where have all the great women singers gone? "It's a sad state of affairs, regrettably there is a taboo attached to music and though at NAPA (the institute, where Mehmood teaches) we encourage young blood to come forward and participate, we still can't force them to become great singers, if they don't want to." So did Pakistan really profess to have great women singers in its fold? He remarks, "Yes, in fact the sub-continent produced great women singers like Roshan Ara Begum." In Pakistan, I ask cogently and he asserted, "There is no comparison between the bright melody queens like Fareeda Khanum, Iqbal Bano and Madam Noor Jehan." Sighing a little, as he saw the portrait of Madam Noor Jehan hanging in his office, Mehmood lead me to another room to see another portrait of Madam, in which she was standing slightly besides Ustad Baray Ghulam Ali. She was shinning in demeanour features and posing a look that says, "I now know all." A hard task, but well received. Social taboos have only led to create a wrong image about the women singers that Pakistan once produced and those who were remarkably honoured the worldwide, but strangely gone from the mainstream today.