Shaukat Ali-The king of folk

Shaukat Ali-The king of folk

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Shaukat Ali was born on 3 May 1944. He was born in Malakwal. It is located in Mandi Bahavodin, Punjab of Pakistan.  He started singing in his college times. It was 1960. He was the king of folk. His brother Inayat Ullah Khan was also a singer. Music director, M. Ashraf introduced him to the world of film. Shaukat Ali relegated his fans and lovers. He performed for 60 years. He sang folk songs and ghazal.

Hero of Punjab

He is a hero in the Indian Punjab. Shaukat Ali gave a new life to the many dastansqissas, and kahanis that form the lore of the area. He was particularly singled out for singing patriotic songs.

He is praised for a number of reasons and not even one. Shaukat Ali had a vast array of fans.  He had beyond the limits that non-musical factors impose on an artiste. Moreover, the limits are due to the variants of either patriotism or religion.

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Pakistan’s ideology has a fractious history. So certain power brokers raised objections about him. The objection was singing folk classics that did not fit into the sanitized version of their own nation-building mission. Or it did not fit into their moral edifice.

Shaukat Ali entertained the music lovers

He had been entertaining the hearts of music lovers for since long. It has been probably more than 60 years. Mostly sang folk musical compositions. He became famous for his folk songs of central Punjab. The songs consisting mainly of the bolistappasdohras. These were prefixed or suffixed with geets to be sung on different occasions. These occasions follow a certain date in the cultural activity of the province.

The central and upper Punjab as well as Punjab and Haryana on the Indian side have had a living tradition to sing folk songs.  And also making compositions suited for each occasion. These have been added extensively with the passage of time. The loose structure and flexibility is the particular nature of folk music. It is in both form and content. Therefore, it is very open to changes that take place concerning places. In regards to people and situations; and resonates with the immediate needs.

Folk music refers to events and personalities.  And the characteristics of the daily lives of people.  In addition, the common aspirations and love interests of the people.  These people go about their daily chores without any pretension.

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Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai- a representative of Sindhi culture.

Forte of folk vocalist

The various kahanisdastaans, and kathas are the forte of the folk singer. These folk has been sung over the generations. Heer, Saiful Malook and Mirza Sahibaan is part of local cultural imagination. People sing these folks at various melas across the landscape. Shaukat Ali honed his skill to perform these folk dastaans. Therefore, he is the king of folk. And the audience was mostly music connoisseurs. They have an understanding of music.  But with the passage of time, became alienated in the cities.  And was then reminded of its roots by these folk melodies. Shaukat Ali understood the taste of the urban audiences.  Then he adjusted rural folk with their taste. And his appearance on television was sought after by a large segment of the urban audience in Pakistan.

Religious or political ideologies have always criticized the diversity and immense variation of the classics. The most revered texts like the works of Rumi and Waris Shah have been censor in Pakistan. In addition, the demands of political or religious ideological compulsions have been impossible to adjust to instantly.  We have known that many cultural purges of verses, paintings, bandishes, plays, and films have been criticized and banned.

Nature of Folk

The classics and the folk are mostly representatives of the living culture. In addition, they are inclusive because it is about humans. As they exist and not about how they ought to live. This tussle between the truths embedded in the arts.  In addition, the imagined truth has been endemic. Thus, the artistes have been the target of the various regimes. The religious orders criticized it for its unabashed unfolding of the human condition. Moreover, the conservative people think that artist is a destabilizing threat to the fabricated self-righteous. Some high purpose underscored these good goody images.

States formed, and then wither away. But they are re-formed in different geographical boundaries. So, they, want to sew the past according to the political compulsions of the present. In the process, much is left out perforce. And much is included to wash away the uncouth reality in line with the finely soothed-out ideology.

Shaukat Ali was a true representative of his society

So, in history, we have seen countries made and remade.  While the spirit of the region could not be, diminish. It resurfaces in the next political design. A singer is more sensible to conceive. And then share the core feeling of society. The dilemmas in a social construct to cover up things. Shaukat, too, did not hesitate to express in his singing.  He expresses the true sensibility of the region. His popularity exceeded today’s boundaries. He provided a definite musical voice to the people in search of one.

Shaukat Ali was a singer of live music.

Then, the electronic-generated sound came into our world. Then, computer-generated sounds became a new normal in no time. So his music was due to the natural sound It was whether vocal or instrumental. The pleasures in listening to him live without intervention of the gadgetry. A pure sound made him probably the last of those who relied on the strength of their voice.  And the “pacca pun of the sur” which only endless Riaz could make possible.

A few of his famous numbers

Kadi ty has bol vay. Similarly, “Saif-ul-Malook–Awwal Hamd Sana-e-Elahi”, Then, famous patriotic songs, “Sathio Mujahido,”. Similarly, “Mein Puttar Pakistan Da”. Then, “Nabi Dey Asseen Ghulam”. etc

He died on 2 April  2021 in Lahore. Shaukat Ali was a treasure trove for Pakistan. As he was the king of folk.


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