On Friday, the veteran and legendary Lahori- Punjabi folk singer passed away from a long illness. He was 78 years-old.
Ali had been suffering from problems that came after his liver transplant. He was undergoing treatment at Lahore’s Combined Military Hospital.
He was famous for his song ‘Chhalla’ that was taken to heights. Later, this song was sung by many other singers but it is believed that no one could sing like him.
Shaukat Ali was born in a family of artists in Malakwal, a town in Gujrat district. He began singing in 1960s.
He started his career as a playback singer in 1963 from film ‘Tees Maar Khan’. He was introduced in the film industry by music director M. Ashraf. He also acted in two films and wrote two books of poetry.
Shaukat Ali got his early training in singing from his elder brother Inayat Ali. He was famous in Punjab, both in Pakistan and India, after singing ‘Saiful Malook’ of classical Punjabi poet ‘Mian Mohammad Bakhsh’.
His song ‘Kadi Tay Hass Bol Way’ was remixed by an Indian singer and later included in an Indian movie too.
In one of his interviews, he said he was more of a ghazal singer at the start of his career and later turned to Punjabi singing when he was denied entry to a five-star hotel in Lahore for wearing shalwar-kameez.
Shaukat Ali had many national and war songs he sang during 1965 and 1971 wars. He performed in many countries of the world, including India. He also gave a live performance at 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi.
He was the recipient of Presidential Pride of Performance Award as well as Pride of Punjab and Voice of Punjab awards.
Some of his famous songs include Kiyun Duur Duur Rehnday Ho, Jaag Utha Hai Sara Watan and Jab Bahaar Aai Tou.
A documentary by a Canadian company was made on him that encompasses his singing career.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed deep sorrow and grief over the death of Shaukat Ali, saying that his services in singing would always be remembered. He prayed for the soul of the deceased and patience for his family to bear the loss.
Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture (Pilac) Director General Dr Sughra Sadaf expressed sorrow over the demise of Shaukat Ali, terming him the ‘voice of Punjab’. She remembered him for his association with Pilac, which gave him Pride of Punjab award in 2016.
Lahore Arts Council Executive Director Aslam Dogar said Shaukat Ali had a long association with Alhamra and with his death, an era of great folk singing had come to an end.
Folk singer Attaullah Khan Esakhelvi, Punjab Minister for Culture Khayal Ahmed Kastro, singer Shabnam Majeed, Punjabi poet Baba Najmi, Punjab Council of Arts Director Abrar Alam sent condolences messages on the death of Shaukat Ali.
Punjabi poet Gurbhajan Gill said that Punjab lost a cultural figure. He said, “He would frequent visit Punjab and was often seen at weddings of friends from the fraternity. Amrita Pritam’s interview-based piece on him, which was published in her magazine Nagmani was remembered for long.”
His burial took place at 10pm at the Samsani Graveyard, Johar Town.