It has been sung by the likes of Junoon, Coke Studio Artists, Atif Aslam & Ali Zafar. It has been sung on the battlefield, before cricket matches, and on school grounds, in honor of visiting heads of state and at The UN General Assembly in New York – The Pakistani National Anthem is perhaps, the true sound of the nation.
It is interesting to note that the anthem was first recorded only as an instrumental composition, without lyrics and first presented upon the visit of the Shah of Iran in 1949. It was later set to lyrics and that too in Persian. Had the Shah of Iran visited again, he would have understood every word of it!
But the Pakistani National Anthem is not just an anthem and the lyrics are not just words set to music, the anthem is resilience, faith and determination in an 80 second composition that rises to a crescendo and then meets an almost sweet yet emotional final note where we pray the shadow of Allah guards above our soil always – Saaya e Khudae zuljalaal .
The anthem renews a pledge that we shall continue to strive, work hard and create a homeland that is a home for all, regardless of faith, language or ethnicity.
Composed by Ahmed Ghulam Ali Chagla, the lyrics of Pakistan’s national anthem were written by the subcontinent’s renowned poet Hafeez Jalandhari. The anthem is unique in that its music preceded its lyrics, which are written in Persian.
Some interesting facts about the anthem and how its composition imbibes both East & West influences
- Composed by musician Ahmad Ghulam Ali Chagla in 1949 who had studied both eastern & western music systems in his time and hence, the Pakistani National Anthem is unique in its composition, drawing influence from both schools.
- Famous poet Hafeez Jalandhari has written the national anthem. He was fluent in both Persian & Urdu, and in the days, poets used to often express themselves in both languages.
- A competition to select the best song for Pakistan was held; the prize money offered was PKR 10,000.
- The current national anthem of Pakistan was selected from over 700 songs.
- The entire national anthem of Pakistan has been written in the Persian language, but it is intelligible and comprehensible by an Urdu speaker if we listen to the words carefully. Urdu has its origins in Persian, so it is, in a way, tribute to our linguistic history.
- On August 13, 1954, the national anthem was released on Radio Pakistan
- It is interesting to note that the Pakistani national anthem was composed 5 years before the lyrics were written.
Do listen in as the ever popular Sufi Rock band Junoon played the Pakistani National Anthem to a session of the UN Assembly in Newyork to a round of applause!
The anthem has been rendered in many versions. This is a special Coke Studio rendition.
Pakistani National Anthem Explained
The National Anthem is easier understood as a pledge and a form of prayer and resolve to the Almighty. It is a symbol of our courage, our unity as people from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures, come to live together. It is a renewal of our pledge for a prosperous and blessed future. May the land always stay sacred for us and give of itself in bounty and generosity to be a source of livelihood for all its inhabitants. May Pakistan always achieve everlasting glory in its path to progress and perfection! Our prayers ask for Allah’s protection over our land always.
The lyrics, in Persian, sung to a heart stopping composition evoke emotions in the hearts of those who understand the value of living in a free land.
When singing the anthem, think of the sacrifices made by those who came before us so we could live as a free nation – free to pursue our dreams, our faith and our ambitions.
When singing the national anthem, do justice to the lives of the people who gave up their dreams so that you may live yours – so sing it with all your heart! Sing it, imagining the sea of human beings who walked barefoot, some on rough terrain, others separated from their families, men, women and children, some travelling by sea, others by train, and still others by foot. Imagine why they braved this journey, why they chose to undergo the ordeal, leave their homes behind forever to create a brand new life, imagine the price of freedom – imagine those who never made it. Then imagine those whose loved ones, left behind, never made it. Imagine what they gave up so that we could be born, raised, and live life in a free land…just imagine!
So sing it with all the emotion that it deserves – that the people who created this land deserve – Pak Sar Zameen Shad Bad – May our past, present and future be guided by the protection of Allah always!
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Sources used in this article include Brandsynario, Humans of Pakistan & Zameen.com
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