LAHORE: When Jaag Utha Hai Sara Watan was first released in 1965, as part of the film Mujahid, it moistened every eye and invoked a tidal wave of sentiments in the heart of every patriot. Decades later, the song still remains one of our most powerful anthems.
Celebrated folk singer Shaukat Ali recently took the decision to re-release what can perhaps be called his greatest hit, this time with his sons Imran and Amir on the occasion of Defence Day.
The song was released at a ceremony held at Garrison Golf Club in Lahore on Tuesday. Despite the fact that Ali suffered a heart attack in Dubai two months ago, he continued to produce the song with his sons, giving it the final touches at Bobi Studio, Iqbal Town. “I have sung Jaag Utha Hai Sara Watan after nearly 50 years but the memories of the war are still fresh in my mind,” said the folk singer. “We recorded the original version amidst sounds of guns, something that I can never forget. I deeply feel the absence of Masood Rana, Nazish and Roshan today, who were with me when we released this song in 1965. My heart is filled with pain but the time is right to once again pay tribute to our troops.”
He added that the song has been composed with the same love, reverence and passion as before. Soon after it was released, Jaag Utha Hai Sara Watan became Ali’s identity and people began calling him the ‘war singer’. Even though he composed a number of other songs on the same theme in the years that followed, none of them met the same popularity. The maestro also shared that no changes had been made in the verses of the newly released song; the only difference was that his vocals were this time accompanied by those of his sons. “I couldn’t help but weep when we were recording the song this time,” he explained. “I was overwhelmed with emotions and am extremely grateful to my sons who value my sentiments. I had been planning on re-releasing Jaag Utha Hai Sara Watan for many years now, and it was their motivation and support that drove me to finally accomplish something that I had been delaying due to health issues.”
At the ceremony, the singer announced that his song was a tribute to those who had laid down their lives for their country, and individuals who had contributed to stirring patriotism into the souls of Pakistanis. “This also goes out to Madam Noor Jehan and Mehdi Hasan for their contributions. Elders of the classical music gharanas of today must advise the younger generations to sing at least one song for their country. This will help spread the message of love and unity, the same way we tried during our times.”
Imran said that he is proud to be part of a family that is known for its contributions to the country. “I am glad that my father gave us an opportunity to work on this beautiful song,” he shared. “We have been rehearsing for a long time. I would like to take this moment to thankPTV for helping out with the video. Everything in the song remains the same as before, with the exception of two new supporting voices. We hope that the public enjoys it.”