Winged eyeliner, bold lips and a characteristic beauty mark, Noor Jehan walked into Radio Pakistan in the middle of night, breaking curfew, ready to sing and instill resilience and patriotism to a country in the throes of war. Her vivaciousness on full display as she reached the Radio Station with songs written by Sufi Tabassum and a strong ardour to serve her country, ready to encourage valour the best way she could, by belting her heart out.
“If one must die, then it is better and more virtuous to die for your country” was her response when somebody tried to convince her to escape to Rawalpindi to avoid the worst of the war. Instead, she was at Radio Pakistan daily until ceasefire, inspiring many to fight at the forefronts of war of 1965 and heartening those already fighting for their country.
Rightfully named as the “Malika-e-Tarranum”, she sang timeless songs and graced the sound waves on a regular basis with songs like “Aey puttar hattan tey nai vikdey”, or “Vey Mairya Dhol Sipahia”, or “Aye Watan ke Sajeelay Jawano” that not only inspired a surge of courage but also were directed at women who were sending their brothers, husbands and sons off to fight.
Noor Jehan singing Aey puttar hattan tey nai vikdey (1965)
Noor Jehan was rightfully awarded the Pakistan President’s Award in 1965 for her acting and singing capabilities and her place in history was further solidified when Field Marshal General Ayub Khan, on March 23, 1966 accredited that “half of the credit of 1965 victory goes to Noor Jahan.”
Her songs have transcended generations and continue to be a source of inspiration.
Not only does it make people reminiscent about how she inspired unity through music but continues to feed the nationalistic spirit even to this day.