Noted singer Nayyara Noor passed away in Karachi after a brief illness on Saturday, her family and friends said. She was 71.

The nature of her illness was not immediately clear.

Born in the Indian state of Assam in 1950, she migrated to Pakistan her with family in the late 1950s.

A keen enthusiast of melody, she started learning music at a very early age and got her first break on Radio Pakistan in 1968. Three years later, she was introduced at PTV.

She won several awards and accolades during her storied career, and was also a recipient of the Pride of Performance in 2006. Noor was also honoured with the Nigar Award in 1973.

She is survived by her husband, Sheharyar Zaidi, and two sons, Ali and Jaafer.

QUEEN OF MELODY: She was initially conferred with the title of Bulbul-e-Pakistan and later Queen of Melody.

Born on November 3, 1950, in Guwahati, Assam, northeastern India, Noor spent her early childhood on the other side of the border. The late singer’s first brush with melody was said to have been inspired by the bhajans of Kanan Devi and Kamla as well as the ghazals and thumris of Begum Akhtar. Despite having a successful career and being touted as Queen of Melody, Noor never had any formal training.

THE SINGER: The singer in Noor was discovered by Professor Asrar Ahmad at the Islamia College in Lahore after hearing her sing for her friends and teachers at an annual dinner at the National College of Arts in Lahore in 1968. She was later brought in to sing for the university’s Radio Pakistan programmes.

It wasn’t until 1971 that Noor made her public singing debut. She began with Pakistani television serials and then went on to sing in films like Gharana (1973) and Tansen. She has since sung ghazals penned by famous poets like Ghalib and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Not just that, Noor had performed with legends like Mehdi Hassan and Ahmed Rushdi.

Some of her famous ghazals and songs comprise Woh Jo Hum Mein Tum Mein Qarar Tha Tumhein Yaad Ho Keh Na Yaad Ho; Rang Barsaat Nay Bharay Kuchh Tou; Phir Sawan Rut Ki Pawan Chali Tum Yaad Aye; Aye Ishq Hamay Barbaad Na Kar; Barkha Barsay Chhat Per; Mein Teray Sapnay Deikhuun; Kabhi Hum Bhi Khoobssorat Thay; Jalay Tau Jalao Gori and her most famous national song, Watan Ki Mitti Gawah Rehna.

She also sang popular film songs. Her famous songs such as Ik Ajnabi Chehray, Mera Pyar Tum Hee Ho, Mausum Tau Deewana Hai, Tera Pyar Bun Kay Aaye, Zara Meri Nabz Dekh Kar, Kuchh Log Mohabbat Ka Sila and Anjanay Naga.

For a better part of the last decade, Noor wasn’t seen in public, until she showed up at Napa in a rare public appearance. “To be honest with you, I was never tempted by material things in life since I was a kid,” Noor told the audience as she sat onstage. “I never felt shallow or incomplete without the embellishments and makeovers. I didn’t need anything to make myself look better and I was and am very content with myself,” the hall echoed with applause.

“You should be in sync with who you really are and that is the only way of embracing the divine energy in you,” Noor had then said. She was of the opinion that the more you force yourself in a certain direction the lesser chances of it working out. “The moment you subscribe to any kind of pretentiousness or fakeness, that’s the moment you lose it.”

Noor remained adamant that finding yourself in your expression is the most significant part of the creative process. It’s all about avoiding that moment and the idea to dress in a stranger’s cloak. “Being who you truly are, helps tremendously,” said Noor while adding, “Only you know who you really are that is all that matters. Your essence is the purity you bring to the world and if you can connect with it then you can do wonders.”

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