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Remembering Melody Queen of Sindh, Mahi Baghi on her 35th death anniversary

HYDERABAD: It was during the mid-60s when a lady from the desert area of the country, Thar got a chance to perform on Radio Pakistan.

It was Sheikh Ghulam Hussain the director of Radio Pakistan who had brought her there to perform.

Mahi Baghi’s first performance attracted everybody in the studio and all of them were sure that Mahi Bagg Bari who later became Mahi Baghi was going to peak at the heights of immutable fame.

Mai Baghi was born in Deploo, a small village surrounded by the arid Thar desert to a well-known musician Haniyal Faqeer and Mai Khadeeja in 1920. When she was in her teenage years she started performing in marriage ceremonies in her village and surrounding areas later she started travelling to different parts of the country to perform marriage and religious ceremonies.

It was an event where Ghulam Hussain Sheikh the then director of Radio Pakistan noticed her, he was so inspired by her melodious voice and unique style of singing that soon after the event ended he approached her to sing on Radio Pakistan but she denied saying that her family will not allow her to sing there. Sheikh made resolute efforts to convince her and finally succeeded. Her first song in the Sindhi Language Tarran Man Tarandi Ache, became an instant hit.

In her interview with Pakistan Television, She said that she was not so famous until people saw her on television. “

People only knew my name, they only knew that a new singer had arrived but they had not seen me”; She said. In 1974 renowned PTV director introduced her on national television where she gained widespread fame through her first song Khari Neem K Niche- which became her claim to fame.

The song speaks of a dreamy young woman of the desert standing underneath a neem tree, watching the sands of time roll by, as Thar’s ‘national bird’ (the peacocks) and koels dance and sing around her, becoming Mai Bhagi’s main claim to fame after she performed it on TV.

Mai Baghi since then has continued to mesmerize his listeners through her melodic voice. There were a large number of her fans within the country and across the borders. Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was also among her diehard fans who after getting inspired by her dulcet voice gifted her 60 acres of land and during Mr Bhutto,s government she was sent to different countries of the world including Paris, the USA, the UK, and Germany to perform along with other folk singers.

Mahi Baghi Sang songs in Sindhi, Dathki, Marwari, and other local languages; her duets with Ustad Murad Faqeer are still popular. One of Mahi Baghis Marwari songs Iho Jhir Milo is part of the Marwari community,s Cultural Heritage. Jiji Zarina Baloch, Taj Mastani, Samina Kanwal, Fozia Sommero, and other folk singers followed the style of her singing that is evidence of her glorious legacy that still continues. In recognition of her services, The Government of Pakistan conferred her with the President Pride of Performance Award in 1981. The Melody Queen of Sindh Mahi Baghi passed away on 7 July 1986. Her daughter Mahi Soni and son Kalu Faqeer were also big names of Sindh,s music industry.

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