August is here and it’s the season to blast patriotic songs on full volume. Pakistanis all around the world celebrate August 14, as the day Pakistan was born in 1947 after gaining freedom from the British. I love “Milli Naghme” (Patriotic national songs) and decided to roundup 14 of my absolute favourite. What better way to get in the spirit of Azaadi (freedom)!
14. Khayal Rakhna – Alamgir and Benjamin Sisters
This amazing combination of the Benjamin Sisters and Alamgir brought all 80s children rushing to the TV to watch the song back in the day. It still strikes a cord.
Favourite line: “Umeed-e-subhe bahar rakhna, khayal rakhna”
13. Mere Des Mein Har Pal Chaon – Arif Lohar, Arifa Siddique and Rustam Fateh Ali
One of the first few fusion experiments, this song brings together Pakistani folk, pop and classical music. Arif Lohar’s energy as always in infectious.
Favourite line: “Ke tu hai pehchaan mere, keh tujh se he shaan mere”.
12. Hum Zinda Qom Hain – Numerous Artists
Another Benjamin Sisters’ collaboration with a few other artists, this song wins with its enthusiasm (and 80s kamiz shalwar fashion).
Favourite line: “Hum sab ke hai pehchaan, hum sab ka Pakistan, Pakistan, PAKISTAN”.
11. Mein Bhi Pakistan Hon – Shehki
You have to admire Shehki’s vocal skills and the ability to dance standing in one spot for the entire song.
Favourite line: “kehti hai ye raah-e-amal ayo mil kar saath chalein, mushkil ho ya asaani, haath mein daale haath chalein”
10. Jug Jug Jeway Mere Pyara Watan- Sabiha Khanum
Love this original black and white version in Sabiha Khanum’s sweet voice.
Favorite line: “Tujh pe qurban, tan man dhan”.
9. Hai Jazba Junoon – Junoon
Junoon introduced Sufi Rock, made Iqbal’s verses accessible for the youth and gave us one of the best anthems of the 90s at the 1996 Cricket World Cup.
Favorite line: “Apna ghar, apne sarzameen, sub kuch hai, bus yehi”
8. Aye Watan Pyaray Watan – Ustaad Amanat Ali khan
This classic by Ustaad Amanat Ali Khan always brings tears to my eyes as he serenades our beloved homeland with all his heart and soul.
Favourite line: “Tujh pe agar jan ho nisar, mein ye samjhon ga thikane laga sarmaya-e-tan”
7. Hamara Parcham- Naheed Akhar
When Naheed Akhtar sings, you have to take notice. Absolutely love her poise, grace, energy and strong voice.
Favorite line: “Ataaye Rab-e-Kareem parcham”.
6. Ye Watan Tumhara Hai – Mehdi Hasan
This song is a beautiful legacy of Mehdi Hasan and is so popular that various covers and videos have been done over the years. They are all my favourite. I feel all versions are a tribute to the essence of the song itself which is to pass on the love of Pakistan from one generation to the next.
Favourite line: “Dekhna gawana mat dolat-e-yaqeen logon, ye watan amanat hai aur tum ameen logon”
5. Dil Dil Pakistan – Vital Signs
This video of a boy band singing around beautiful Islamabad took everyone by surprise and made the Vital Signs household names overnight. An absolute favorite for all 80s/90s kids.
Favourite line: “Ghar apna to sab ko jee jaan se pyara lagta hai, tara lagta hai, hum ko bhi apne har armaan se pyara lagta hai, tara lagta hai”.
4. Sohni Dharti – Shehnaz Begum
This song by the amazing Shahnaz Begum is a beautiful prayer for a country that has survived despite all odds and numerous tragedies.
Favorite line: “jab tak hai ye duniya baqi, hum dekhein azad tujhe”
3. Watan Ke Miti Gawah Rehna – Nayyara Noor
Nayyara Noor makes this song timeless and spreads optimism in her particular simple, elegant and sweet style. A true classic.
Favorite line: “watan ke mitti azeem hai tu, azeem tar hum bana rahe hain, gawah rehna”.
2. Mera Peygham Pakistan – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has done a lot for Pakistan to be proud of and this tribute by the maestro himself to the homeland is truly a showcase of the best of Pakistan.
Favourite line: “mohabbat aman hai, aur is ka hai peyghaam Pakistan”.
1. Jeway Jeway Pakistan – Shehnaz Begum
This classic by Shahnaz Begum is the ultimate love letter to Pakistan with prayers, nostalgia and devotion. Like all love stories this one is also touched by tragedy, sung by an artist from East Pakistan that later became Bangladesh.
Favourite line: “Sunnanein wale sune to un ko eik he dhun lehraye, Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan, Pakistan, Jewe Pakistan”.
Special Mention: Roshan o Rakhshan Nayyar o Tayyaban – Habib Wali Muhammad
I wanted to add a special mention of this amazing song by Habib Wali Muhammad, that is not super popular but I really love because of the beautiful lyrics and strong vocals.
Favourite line: “jab tak sooraj chaand hain baqi, jab tak baqi jahan rahe, roshan-o-rakhshan nayar-o-taban Pakistan rahe”.
What did you think of this list? Which songs are your favourite and which ones would you like to add?