Allah Rakhi Wasai (21 September 1926 – 23 December 2000), better known by her stage name Noor Jehan or Noor Jahan and her honorific title Malika-e-Tarannum (Queen of Melody) was a Pakistani singer and actress who worked both in India and Pakistan.

Noor JehanBorn into a family with music traditions, Noor Jehan was pushed by her parents to follow in their musical footsteps and become a singer but she was more interested in acting in films. Pakistan’s nightingale and India’s loss after Partition, she was a singing sensation who recorded about 10,000 songs in various languages of India and Pakistan including Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi and Sindhi.


Here is an article that encapsulates her glorious life and journey –

Some excerpts:
“Jahan paida hui wahan hi jaoongi.” I will only go where I was born. That declaration in 1947 by Allah Rakhi Wasai sent shockwaves through the Hindi film industry. At Partition, her native village of Kasur in Punjab found itself in the newly formed nation of Pakistan and Wasai – better known by her stage name, Noor Jehan – packed up her life in Bombay to move to Lahore”.

“Noor Jehan ended her glorious career after singing the Punjabi song Ki Dam Da Bharosa Yaar in Sakhi Badshah (1996). She scaled unparalleled musical heights in Pakistan, but the debate rages on among lovers of Hindi film music about whether she lost out by migrating to Pakistan. Some believe that she gave up the chance to participate in the sheer variety of music in Indian films, which reflects the roots and regional influences of composers from across the country, limiting herself to the Urdu ghazal and the Punjabi-flavoured tune. Yet, there is no denying the fact that Noor Jehan shaped Pakistani film music the way Lata Mangeshkar did Hindi film music. The light of the universe undoubtedly proved that melody is indeed queen on both sides of the border.”

And here is one of her most wondrous songs, Chandni Raatein, which became a big hit again in the 1990s, when a remixed version sung by Shamsa Kanwal played on music television channels in India.:

Chandni raatein, Chandni raatein
Sab jag soye Hum jagey
Taron say karein baatein

Moonlit nights, Oh moonlit nights
The entire world is asleep, while I stay awake
Chatting with the stars

Chandni raatein, Chandni raatein
Takte takte tooti jaye aas piya na aaye re, takte takte
Shaam saware dard anokhe use jiya ghabraye re, shaam saware

Moonlit nights, Oh Moonlit nights
As I gaze, my desire for my lover is broken, he hasn’t come back, as I gaze
Evenings and morning, I feel strange sensations of pain and hurt, my heart trembles, in the evenings and mornings

Raato ne meri neend loot li, dil ke chain chhudaye
Dukhya ankhein doond rahi hai wahi pyar ki gatey

The nights have stolen my sleep, stolen the peace in my heart
Eyes full of sorrow keep looking for those times of love and happiness

Chandni raatein, Chandni raatein
Pichchli raat mein hum uth uth kur chupke chupke roye re, pichchli raat mein
Sukh ki neend mein meet hamare des piraye soye re, sukh ki neend mein

Moonlit nights, Oh Moonlit nights
One of these last nights I awoke, weeping quietly, one of these nights..
And in another land, my beloved sleeps in peace, he sleeps in peace

Dil ki dhadkane tujhe pukare, aaja balam aayi bahare
Baith ke tanhai mein kar le dukh sukh ki do baatein
Chandni raatein, Chandni raatein

My heartbeats call you, come my beloved, spring too has arrived
Let us sit in seclusion and share a few of our sorrows
Moonlit nights, oh the Moonlit nights

Link to the video: