By: Omair Alavi
Pakistan may have been around for nearly 70 years but national songs came a little late on the scene; the first national song in a film that was an original composition – Himmat Se Har Qadam – was the creation of music maestro Sohail Rana in his debut film Jab Se Dekha Hai Tumhein. Sohail Rana shifted his attention to TV in the late 60s and gave hits after hits, mostly songs that evoked the patriotic emotions of his fellow countrymen. On this Independence Day, let’s pay a tribute to the great music composer and his Top 10 National Songs that are still popular after so many years.
1- Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan
There is hardly any Pakistani who doesn’t love this national song by Shehnaz Begum and written by the recently departed Jamiluddin Aali. Sohail Rana’s composition not only touched the hearts of every Pakistani, it still gives them hope nearly 50 years later. Be it the 1971 Heart Ache or the War on Terror, Jeevay Pakistan lives in the hearts and minds of Pakistanis with its brilliant composition, amazing lyrics and superb rendition.
2- Zameen Ki Goad
Mohammad Ifrahim may not be known to many music enthusiasts of the modern era but he still gets remembered once a year, every year due to this song. Sung in his mentor Mohammad Rafi’s style, the lyrics by Asad Mohammad Khan don’t feature the word Pakistan at all. Yet, everyone knows what he means when he is talking about the Kehkashan, the badlian and Khuda-i-meherban ki yeh nishanian.
3- Sohni Dharti
Jab tak hai yeh duniya baqi, hum dekhen azad tujhe … doesn’t this verse gives you goosebumps? It still has that effect on me and we must thank Sohail Rana for the composition and Masroor Anwar for the powerful lyrics. The song was rendered by multiple singers most notably Shehnaz Begum, Mehdi Hassan and even Habib Wali Mohammad and whenever 14 August is around, it gets played nearly everywhere in Pakistan or wherever there are Pakistanis around the world.
4- Main Bhi Pakistan hoon
Mohammad Ali Shyhaki was amongst the first batch of youngsters who made pop singing ‘popular’ in Pakistan; he wasn’t a Pakistani by birth (he was born and raised in Iran) but by singing this wonderful number written by Sehba Akhtar, he showed his love for his adopted country. The song describes the 4 provinces of the country as well as their qualities which were unheard of before in a national song.
5- Yeh Des Hamara Hai
Not many know that Sohail Rana’s father Rana Akbar Abadi was a poet and it was he who penned down the lyrics of this song. Sung by multiple singers (Waseem Baig’s version is most listened) the song is popular because of its simple lyrics and compositions.
6- Tera Pakistan Hai
Before he sang this song, Amjad Hussain was an unknown folk singer; after this number he became one of the most recognized voices in Pakistan. His vocal range and his high pitch complimented the Sehba Akhtar’s wonderful lyrics which still touch the hearts of all those who hear them.
7- Jo Naam Wahi Pehchan
The combo of Jamiluddin Aali and Sohail Rana delivered this hit in the 80s with Nayyara Noor as the vocalist; it remains her best work alongside Watan Ki Mitti Gawah Rehna. Although it doesn’t get played much often on TV, Jo Naam Wahi Pehchan is all about Pakistan’s name and its standing in the world, for all things good.
8- Roshan O Rakhshan
Zia Jalandhari’s poem was made into a magnum opus song where the best singers in the country were used as chorus by Sohail Rana, with Habib Wali Mohammad leading the way. The words may sound difficult now but when you know the meaning, they mean a lot more.
9- Teri Waadi Waadi Ghoomon
Anwar Ibrahim began his career as a child singer in Sohail Rana’s programs; Teri Waadi Waadi Ghoomon was his best work as not only he got to sing a solo song but one that had patriotic lyrics and superb composition. The song is still played without words in many of the documentaries that are released on 14th August or any other national day.
10- Rang Birangay Phoolon Ka Guldasta
Waseem Baig may not have sung many songs but this one helped him become famous in the 80s. The lyrics smartly describe Pakistan as a bouquet full of flowers that never goes out of fashion; and neither does this song.