Malika Pukhraj of Jammu

By Muhammad Murtaza

Malika Pukhraj was born in village Mirpur16 miles from Jammu and 55 miles from Akhnoor - over looking Jammu River. She was Malika with the blessings of a "Majzoob" Baba Moti Ram and named Pukhraj by her Aunt. Her father neglected family affairs but mother insisted to get her educated. They shifted to Jammu Town where she learnt Urdu and Persian from a distant uncle Gulzar Hussain Shah. She also read Fasana-e-Azad and Ratan Nath Sarshar. She had melodious voice from childhood. She received music lessons in a Delhi sojourn from very strict Ustads. – arduous "Nirith Bhav". One of her teacher has been quoted as Ustad Mubarik Ali Khan. Father of Bare Ghulam Ali Khan Sahib also nurtured her. At the age of 9 appointed at the Darbar of Maharaja Hari Singh of Kashmir. She remained there for nine years - performed at the coronation ceremony of the Maharaja. Maharaja was also an amateur singer. Once she laughed in Maharaja’s Darbar on some funny happening – This being viewed as contempt and was warned by Janak Singh. Due to some intrigues she left the Kashmir State service. She had never performed publicly before that. Afterwards she was associated with Lahore Radio Station. She has a distinct and clear style of rendering Ghazals. Her tunes matched the theme. Folk singing by her is in most natural style. Her voice is most suitable for Pahari Songs. She also occasionally sings for TV.

At the time of independence there were in all four film studio in Pakistan (all at Lahore) including two studios of Dilsukh Pancholi. One of the Pancholi Studios was initially allotted to Afzal Himaliyawala but the allotment was cancelled in 1954 and the same was re-allotted to Malika Pukhraj.(renamed as Malika Studio).


"Ahed-e-Rangeen ki Yadgar hun Mein"

She lived in old Lahore City at that time. Shabbir Husain Shah a Government Officer very much liked her singing and actually they were in love. They were then married. She continued singing after marriage. She has six children. Malika is considered to be a very harsh teacher of music. Safiea - her eldest daughter with marvelous voice shunned singing under taunts of her schoolmates. One of her daughters (Tasleem) is an anesthesia expert (Wife of S.M Zafar- Advocate and Ex Minister). Daughter of S.M.Zafar used to occasionally sing on TV. Malika’s daughter Tahira (Law Graduate) under strict compulsion has learnt singing. .She re-sung many of her mother’s famous songs. Malika is considered to be too frank in expressing her critical observations about others – 

Mr. G.N. Joshi pays tribute “Malika Pukhraj’s silvery rich voice and her superb expressive style were ideally suited for rendering romantic ghazals and dadras; she used to present them in such an arresting manner that listeners were at once held spellbound. She displayed rare virtuosity in diverse types of songs for the recordings for gramophone discs and during radio broadcasts. While the ghazals appealed most to the sensuous, her dadras had a unique charm..”

Her famous songs are listed below:

“Be zubani zaban na ho jae-Raz-e-ulfat aeyan na hojae” Ghazal 
“ Zahid na keh buri ke yeh mastane Aadmi hein”
“Wo kehte heih rajish ki batein bhula daen” Ghazal 
“Her ek lawa-e-rangeen ki yadgar hun mein”
“Mein jo madhosh hua hun” 
“Nigah-e-yar jise ashna-e-yar kare”
“Ajab dastan afreen hae”
“Dil gham mein na behla”
“Hum bhi piyein thumein bhi pilain tamam raat-Jagein tamam raat jagaen tamam raat” 
“Taskeen ko hum na roen jo zoq-e-nazar mile” 
“Kesa jadoo dara balam matvare” Dadra
“Sooratia raang jui re” Dadra
“Ahein jo mein ne rokein”
“Hal dil wo pochne aane lage”
“Jag soz-e-isq jag”
“Lo phir basant aai” Seasonal Geet
“Aye koi tou beth bhi jae zara si der”
“Shab-e-gham ki sehar nahein hoti”
“Jis ko na taab-e-isq ho uski gali mein jae keun”
“Zulmat kade mein mere shab gham ka josh hae”
“Jalwa tera jis rang mein hae hosh ruba hae”
“Jhoom kar badl uthi aur cha gai”
“Nikat-e-zulf se neendon ko” Ghazal
“Meri sham-e-gham ko” Ghazal
“Abhi tou mein jawan hoon” Naghma 
“Ae isq mujhe barbad na kar”
“Ae ishq kahein le chal”
“Hein labrez ahoon se”
“Aayo ke marg soz-e-mohabbat”
“Muhabbat ka soz-e-nihan”
“Ess andaz se kash wo shokh”
“Ahed rangein ki yadgar hun mein”
“ Kia keh gai kisi nazar kuch na poochiye”
“Arey mae gusaro savare savere”
"Woh batein teri who fasaney terey"
"Ne Ka Ne Nam Rakh Dia Kis Ne" Amin Hazeen, Master Inayat
"Lehra ke la Jhoom ke la" Abdul Hamid Adan, Master Inayat
Geet “Mora kaha maan ja”, “ O Ghare wali”
Naats “Ae isq -e-muhammed”
“Hue pehloe amna se haveda”
“Dil jis se zinda hae woh tamana thumi tou ho”
“Zamane mein chamka hae nam-e-mohammed”
“Kamli wale thujh pe”
“Mae ishq-e-nabi hae aur mein hoon”
“Pardesi sanwaria” 
“Chali ja mori nayia”
Holi “Holi mein mose”
“Baat chalat chundri rang dali”
Punjabi “phondo majuria nahin lana”
“Chirye ranarahona”
“Nimmi nimmi pendi-e-phuwar”
“Akhian terian chor ni”
“Nimmi nimmi tarian”
“Piplan te pengha paiyan”
Pahari “Toun toun ghar aaja”
“Milne do mouj moya”
“Palpal bahi jana ho”
Do-Kinare -"Dekh lenge duniya", "Chand ansoo chand"
Punjabi Film
Shammi - Urdu Song “Kia sunain majboor zindagi ka afsna”
Urdu/Punjabi Duet with Inayat Bhatti "Dermat dil ki batein kehle- Ek duni duni do duni charey"

Azadiye Watan
“Han O madi jindri” , “Watan Churaio” 
“Mein to chokre ko bharti kara ayi re”


After death of her husband she mostly devoted time to embroidery in moghal art style. Now she spends much of her spare time in a mini zoo and garden at her residence.

She is the most senior legendary singer of the whole sub-continent. Writer Ashfaq Ahmed wishes her to live beyond his lifetime. God may bless her with health and happiness.

Courtesy: Ali Sufian Afaqi Esqr.

About the Author

Mr. Muhammad Murtaza is an educationist, working as principal in an institution, functioning under Ministry of Science and Technology of Pakistan. For the last 32 years, he has also been engaged in learning and listening the vocal and instrumental classical / semi-classical music of Indo-Pak with ruling passion. Besides, he has always been desirous to consolidate and share his knowledge on the life and art of those legends of music who stylize this great form of fine art. This article of Mr. Murtaza on the career and art of Malika Pukhraj is a tribute to this great vocalist and living legend of Indo-Pak sub-continent.


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