Suraiya Multanikar was a lilting voice of the 1960s. The memorable ghazals recorded in her mellifluous voice remind us of the spirit of renewal and adventure that is the core of our national heritage. Her unique voice is a translation of music through the soul. Her adorers are still stunned by the enormous influence of her voice that she unleashed on them. In reality, they have an even greater appreciation for the gracious lady behind the music. In her earlier days, she was hard at work, trying to secure her slice of the music dream. Suraiya was perfectly poised for her greatest accomplishment, which brought her laurels from literally everywhere. ‘Baray bay murawwat hain ye husn walay, kaheen dil laga nay ki koshish na karna’. Her voice itself an instrument: ‘Theher jao Aankhon mein thora sa dum hai, tumhain deikh loon warna hasrat rahay gee’. Note how effortlessly she uttered those high and low notes: ‘Meray dil kay zakhmoan ko neend Aa gaye hai, inhain tum jaga nay ki koshish na karna’. The fiber of her voice retained resolutions in all scales.
Given here below is a well-remembered ghazal, which endured through all those years: ‘Tum bhi khafa ho loag bhi barham’. Suraiya goes down in the annals of Pakistani music as the only ghazal singer few could imitate. In the richer realm of ghazals, this one stands out: ‘Bhoolay say bhi keh do’.
There are a myriad of other examples of her superfluous performances like the following ghazal: ‘Achchi surat pay ghazab toot kay’. She brightened so many lives through her talents. Think of this well-remembered number: ‘Lungh Aaja patan chanha da’. Suraiya, as impressionable as ever, and her admirers feel proud, and rightly so: ‘Moray angna mein’. Lately, music buffs have shown a renewed interest in her ghazals. What has sparked the Suraiya revival?
Perhaps her ghazals captured the essence of what life in Pakistan really is about. It isn’t the bigger, the better that matters it is the will power and smarts never to give up. She stole the hearts of her fans with ‘Meray qabu mein’. Suraiya is well known for her alacrity while at the same time still regarding the basics of music. The following ghazal magnified her popularity among the masses: ‘Baazicha-e- atfaal hai’.
Her ingenuity is evident, perhaps nowhere more so than in the following ghazal: ‘Najaria kahay milaye sajaniya’. Suraiya’s industrious nature led to one success after another. She is a shining light guiding new prospective artist.
Though Suraiya retired from active singing years ago, her admirers still remember her with real reverence. Suraiya, an unobtrusively brilliant woman, brought us closer to reality through her voice. A nation, which does not value the contributions from its artists, is indeed very poor. Fortunately, Pakistani music lovers cherish their singers and actors of the yester years.