Zar Sanga-Queen of Pashto melody
Music can not be expressed in words not because it is vague but it is more precise than words. It is an international language and the shared legacy of the whole humanity. That is why when Zar Sanga, the queen of gypsy voice sang out ‘Rasha mama zwi de lewani de’ ( O! man lets’ your son has gone mad) at a musical evening in Paris, a large number of audiences who even did not understand her language but still enthralled by the sweetness and originality of her rocky voice. Once when Zar Sanga sang a song along with the girls of her age in at home, her voice was overheard by Mustafa, a banjo player of the Radio Pakistan Peshawar. He was mesmerized by the fascinating voice of Zar Sanga and requested her father to allow her to try her luck on the radio. She was brought by Rashid Ali Dehqan late, the innovative producer, to the Radio. “Dehqan asked me for audition, but when he listened my voice without a mike he was very impressed and told me that I needed no audition, and thus I started singing for radio without knowing that I am a singer”, Zar Sanga said while talking to the Statesman here on Friday. She recalled that often when she would sing in the old radio studio adjacent to the central prison , her voice was so sharp and penetrating that the prisoners would become overjoyed and would step on the prison’s walls to enjoy my singing. “My real name is “Zalobai”, but Dehqan changed it and started calling me as Zar Sanga, because one another of my neighbours Gul Sanga was also used to sing on Radio”, she explained.She was born in 1946 at Zafar Mamakhel, a small village of Lakki Marwat. She belongs to the nomad family that used to settle in Afghanistan in summer while in winter it would stay at Lakki. In 1965 she married to Mulajan, a resident of Sarai Naurang (Bannu) who was also a nomadic. Recalling her marriage, Zar Sanga said that it was based on love and mutual understanding. Many people believe that Khan Tehsil, a popular folk singer is her husband but interestingly she disclosed, ‘actually I sang with him on many occasions and most of our joint songs got immense popularity. He is not my husband he is just like my own brother”. Zar Sanga further said she has four daughters and two sons. Only Shehzada her second son stepped into the world of music.At the start of her career Zar Sanga used to listen to the songs of Gulnar Begum, Kishwar Sultan, Bacha Zarin Jan, Khial Mohammad, Ahmad Khan and Sabz Ali Ustad. “I liked all of them, but I have maintained my own traditional way of folk singing. The people would earnestly enjoy my songs on both sides of the Durand Line. I got no education therefore I can not sing from a written paper. Most often I sing the songs that are composed and created by the common folk. However my husband (Mula Jan) also wrote some of my popular songs”, she said. A French researcher Miss Kia affiliated with the Radio France once came to Peshawar in connection with her research activities on Pashto music, traditions and cultural values. She met Zar Sanga and flabbergasted by her voice which she (Miss Kia) termed the only mountainous voice with all its originality and power in Pashto. Miss Kia took Zar Sanga to France for a musical concert. In France many people fascinated by her sweet melodies.Miss Kia was so impressed that she would like to be called as Zar Sanga. She used to ask her to sing without musical instruments so that the originality of her sound could be properly enjoyed. During the interview she happily recalled one another interesting event when she was participating in a musical concert in London and said “I was singing a traditional folk song in Pashto about the mountains and gypsy life of the tribals and when I finished it, a Britisher came close to me and proudly remarked that he was also a gypsy”. The famous numbers of Zar Sanga, which she never misses at any musical function are da bangriwal pa choli ma za (her first-ever song on Radio), zma da khro jamo yara, rasha mama zwi de, zma da ghrono pana yara,kht me zanzeri de, and some other Terwali Sandaray. Zar Sanga has been to Germany, Belgium, Iraq, Dubai, America, France and UK and enthralled thousands of Pakhtuns and the local people by her sweet throat. In recognition of her unforgettable services to Pakhto Music the government of Pakistan awarded her with the pride of performance and graduate award. She is also a recipient of numerous awards and certificates from a number of cultural organizations. Then asked why she did not stay permanently in the developed countries she visited she replied with a great pride that Pakistan was her native land and she would live and die here.“Pakistan is my identity and I will never lose it at any cost”, she proudly remarked. However she regretted that inspite of her services for the last more than 30 years she was still living in penury and the provincial culture department had turned a deaf ear to her plight. The culture department has stopped her monthly stipend therefore it is difficult for her to support her family with the meager amount she gets from private programmes. The provincial government should take a serious account of singers, artists and poets of high repute like Zar Sanga to improve their living standard so that continue to the service of the people of this country.