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For the former Soviet air base, see Reshma (air base).
Reshma singer.jpg
Background information
Also known as Reshman
Born c.1947
Ratangarh, Rajasthan, India
Origin Karachi, Pakistan
Died 3 November 2013 (aged 66)
Lahore, Pakistan
Genres Punjabi folk music
Years active Late 1950s–2013

Reshma (c.1947 – 3 November 2013),[1] Sitara-e-Imtiaz, was a renowned folk singer of Pakistan, who was also very popular in India. She died on 3 November 2013 in Lahore, Pakistan, after suffering from throat cancer for several years.

Early life[edit]

Reshma was born in village of Loha, Tehsil Ratangarh district Churu near [1] Bikaner, Rajasthan to a Banjara (Gypsy) family around 1947.[2][3][4] Her father Haji Mamad Mushtaq was a camel and horse trader from Malashi.[5] She belonged to a tribe which had converted to Islam. Her tribe migrated to Karachi shortly after the Partition of India, when she was just one month old.[2][6]

She did not receive any formal education and spent much of her childhood singing at the mazars (shrines) of the mystic saints of Sindh.

Rise to fame[edit]

When she was twelve years old, she was spotted singing at Shahbaaz Qalandar's shrine by a television and radio producer, who arranged for her to make a recording of "Laal Meri" on Pakistan radio.[5] She became an instant hit and since that day, Reshma has been one of the most popular folk singers of Pakistan, appearing on television in the 1960s, recording songs for both the Pakistani and Indian film industry, and performing at home and abroad.

Some of her famous songs are "Dama Dam Mast Kalandar", "Hai O Rabba nahion lagda dil mera", "Sun charkhe di mithi mithi cook mahiya meinu yaad aunda", "Wey main chori chori", and "Ankhiyan no rehen de ankhyan de kol kol".

The last was used by Raj Kapoor in Bobby, "Ankhyon ko rehne de ankhyon ke aas pass", sung by Lata. Her fame had crossed the border, thanks to pirated tapes. She was able to perform live in India much later, during the 1980s when India and Pakistan allowed exchange of artists. Subhash Ghai used her voice in the film Hero, which featured one of her most famous songs, "Lambi Judai".[7]

During her career she was invited to meet Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.[8]

In October 2002, Reshma performed at the Brunei Gallery in London to a packed hall of Pakistani expatriates, where her daughter Khadija and son Umayr also performed.

In 2004, she recorded "Ashkan Di Gali Vich Mukaam De Gaya", which was used in the Bollywood film Woh Tera Naam Tha, and was also a hit record in India.[5][9]

In January 2006, she was one of the passengers on the inaugural Lahore-Amritsar bus, the first such service linking both parts of the Punjab since 1947. The bus had 26 passengers in total of whom 15 were Pakistani officials, and Reshma had booked seven seats for herself and her family.[10]

Her last residence was in the area of Icchra in Lahore Pakistan.[5]

Her younger sister Kaneez Reshma is also a professional singer.[11]

Health issues and death[edit]

Reshma was diagnosed with throat cancer in the 1980s, in later years her health deteriorated, leading President Pervez Musharraf to come to her aid, giving her one million Rupees to help pay off a bank loan, as well as putting her on a secured assistance of 10,000 rupees per month. He also helped her secure a plot of land for herself, but that did not go through due to the change in government.[12]

Her health deteriorated to such an extent that she was hospitalised in Lahore, Pakistan in Doctors Hospital on 6 April 2013. The caretaker government elected to pay all her medical expenses.

Reshma fell into a coma in October 2013 and died on 3 November 2013 in a Lahore hospital.[3][4][13]


  • Sitara-i-Imtiaz awarded by the President of Pakistan for her services to the nation.


  1. ^ "Legendary singer Reshma passes away". Retrieved 3 November 2013. , Retrieved 31 August 2015
  2. ^ a b Srivastara, Sanjeev (2000) "Festive celebrations in Rajasthan", BBC, 25 September 2000. Retrieved 15 December 2012,
  3. ^ a b Menon, Meena (2013) "Pakistani singer Reshma passes away", The Hindu, 3 November 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013
  4. ^ a b "Pakistani folk singer Reshma is dead", The Times of India, 3 November 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013
  5. ^ a b c d Siddiqui, Rana (2004) "The singer, the song", The Hindu, 16 February 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2012, Retrieved 31 August 2015
  6. ^ "Legendary Pakistani singer Reshma passes away after long battle with throat cancer",, 3 November 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2013, Retrieved 31 August 2015
  7. ^ Chopra, Dinesh (2004) "Lambi judai? Reshma asks who's Tendulkar", Times of India, 14 April 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2012, Retrieved 31 August 2015
  8. ^ Puniyani, Ram (2003) Communal Politics: Facts versus Myths, Sage, ISBN 978-0761996675, p. 101
  9. ^ "Reshma sings for Bollywood", Times of India, 20 January 2004. Retrieved 15 December 2012
  10. ^ "India-Pakistan bus links Punjab", BBC, 20 January 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2012
  11. ^ "Kaneez Reshma crosses border to embrace Bollywood", Outlook India, 28 April 2006. Retrieved 15 December 2012, Retrieved 31 August 2015
  12. ^ Pahwa, Kiran (2007) "Famed Pak singer Reshma seeks Musharraf’s help to get land",, 14 September 2007. Retrieved 15 December 2012
  13. ^ "Legendary folk singer Reshma dies", Dawn, 3 November 2013. Retrieved 3 November 2013