While on this auspicious day of September 6, we remember our valiant soldiers who sacrificed their present for nation’s future, we should not forget to remember, and pay our tributes to, the Queen of Melody Madam Noor Jehan, poet par excellence Dr Rasheed Anwar and writer Inayatullah. These three personalities made enormous and lasting contributions in that 17-days’s long war which enabled Pakistanis to discover their forgotten nationhood.
Noor Jehan was an actress and a singer and was a heart-throb, like any other of her ilk in entertainment industry. Her voice and her physical attributes, like her general reputation, only excited the animal instinct of her admirers. But with the break of hostilities, she became a revered celebrity overnight. Her songs, merya dhol sipahya, ahe puttar hattan te nain vickdey and many others fuelled the fire of patriotism all over the country from Karachi to Chittagong. She was especially a favorite of those busy fighting on the battle front. In recognition of her services, she was bestowed the honor of Malika-i-Trannum (The Melody Queen) by the whole nation unanimously. She is still remembered with this title most respectfully.
Dr Rasheed Anwar was a homeopathic physician and a poet of Punjabi language. Unknown and down-to-earth, he immortalized his poetry and himself with his song, jang khed nain hondi zananian di. Those of us who remember the war would recall his single war song and would have a strange feeling of national pride in his blood vessels. May God bless his soul. He must be remembered by all of us while we are celebrating the Defence of Pakistan Day.
Inayatullah was known as a short-story writer, a fiction writer and an editor of Monthly Sayyara Digest of Lahore before the war. He had a few radio and TV dramas to his credit. But he rose to fame and glory with the advent of war. The valiant deeds and gallantry of ordinary soldiers and ingenious war tactics authored by the military leadership on the front transformed this short-story writer into a war correspondent, military analyst and impressive narrator. His initial books BRB behti rehegi (BRB canal will keep flowing), Lahore ki dehleez par and Badar se Batapore tak made him an instant national celebrity all over the country and abroad. His accounts of war are still considered authentic wherever there is an interest in 1965 war. And his novels on the war are no less than authentic accounts. He wrote dozens of books on the subject, founded his own Monthly Hikayat and dedicated all his works to the defense of Pakistan. After the fall of Dacca, his also launched a Movement for Unification of Pakistan (Tehreek-e-Takmeel-e-Pakistan) which was later hijacked by some politicians.
While we remember the 1965 war, we owe a debt of gratitude to these three personalities for, without them the memories of those days will remain incomplete.