|Illustration from the Imperial Guide|
I have the following information on good authority (The Imperial Guide to India with Maps and Illustrations, John Murray, London, 1902).
Mooltan, a municipality (75,000 inhabitants) and a military station, is a very ancient city 4 m from the left bank of the Chenab. It is supposed to be one of the Indian cities taken by Alexander the Great.
Mohammed of Ghazni took it in 1005, but previous to that it had been Mohammedan. Until 1779 it was under the rule of the Emperor of Delhi, when it passed into the possession of the Afghan, Muzaffar Khan, who held it for nearly forty years, when the town was taken by Ranjit Singh’s army—Muzaffar Khan and all his sons perishing in the battle. The Sikhs held Mooltan until 1849, when the British, under General Walsh, captured the place.
Cantonments lie west of the city. There is not much of importance in Mooltan that detains the mere tourist. (pg. 181)
And thus one of the oldest human habitations in Asia is dismissed with an impervious sniff.
Whenever I visited the great city of Saints in south Punjab’s baked plains I always found hundreds of reasons to be detained: the food, the forts, the shrines of the great Sufis, the bazaars, the sripai.
And tonight I propose another reason to love Multan: Suraiya Multanikar.
According to the experts at Cineplot.com, Suraiya, besides being a classical vocalist of repute, has also won wide admiration for other forms of Pakistan’s melodic tradition, including kafis of the mystic poet Khawaja Ghulam Farid. There is an edge to her voice which has come to be recognized as her hallmark. She also sang few film songs, most popular being the mujra song for Badnaam (1966), composed by Deebo Bhattacharya and picturized on Nabeela.
She won the Pride of Performance medal in 1986.
Tonight’s selection showcases that edgy voice which is pure folk. You can taste the dry dust and feel the heat of Multan as she sings her way through a great repertoire of Punjabi folk songs.
01 Vich Rohi Dey
02 Lang Aa Ja Patan
03 Toon Bajh Theye
04 Allah Janrey Te Yaar Na Janray
05 Khori Dardi Haan
06 Khan Charha Dey
07 Holay Holay
08 Han Deh
09 Aa Chanan Ral Yaar
10 Kya Haal Suranwan