History of the National Anthem of Pakistan


The National Anthem of any country forms the basis of its core identity as it evokes history while highlighting the struggles and tradition of its forefathers. Every country therefore has a unique emotional musical rendition that adds to a patriotic appeal. With the Coke Studio rendition being released today, one can’t help but revisit the journey that resulted in us having a sonic representation of being Pakistani.

It may be enlightening and surprising for some to know that the National Anthem of Pakistan wasn’t developed immediately after its independence in 1947 and that the musical composition was finalised by the composer, Ahmad G. Chagla in 1949, even prior to the poetry being penned down[1].

The poetry of Pakistan’s National Anthem was written by Hafeez  Jallundhri in 1952 who wrote these thought provoking words back in the day and won the hearts of many through his literary work. His poetry won out of the 723 competing crowdsourced songs, and before you raise your eyebrows…yes crowdsourcing existed even then, despite the word being fairly new. The prize money for the winning ‘qaumi tarana’ was Rs. 10,000 which at that time was quite a lucrative amount.

Exploring the National Anthem further, it is known that it comprises of 3 stanzas, uses 38 musical notes and 21 different music instruments. Another astonishing fact is that it contains only one Urdu word which is ‘ka’ otherwise it is entirely written in Persian. The duration is approximately 1 minute and 20 seconds yet despite what the duration might be, it definitely gives one goose bumps, especially when it is sung in a chorus[2]. Doesn’t it remind you of school days and the August 14 function in the school ground?

The first group of singers comprised of Akhtar Wassi, Ahmad Rushdi, Najam Ara, Shamim Bano, Kokab Jehan, Rasheeda Begum, Zwar Hussain, Akhtar Abbas, Ghulam Dastgir, Anwar Zaheer and Naseema Shaheen[3].

Furthermore, following astute composition and charismatic poetry, the National Anthem was finally released on August 13, 1954[4] on Radio Pakistan[5], which was 7 years after the independence of the state. That is the amount of effort and hard work that was put in with the initiation being taken in 1949 with its melodious composition.

January 19, 1955 was the day when the first colour film of the flag and anthem was produced, yet another milestone in the history of our national anthem.

With such a rich history, it seems the new rendition released by Coke Studio will also be remembered in years to come, as yet another milestone. We absolutely love it and can’t help but feel both nostalgic and a sense of patriotism as it blares on our laptops. If you haven’t heard this beautiful rendition yet then quickly watch it and share your feedback with us in the comments section.

[1] The National Anthem of Pakistan: https://www.dawn.com/news/651435

[2] The National Anthem of Pakistan: https://www.dawn.com/news/651435

[3] The seven long years when Pakistan did not sing its National Anthem: https://www.dawn.com/news/1200428

[4] How much do you know about the National Anthem of Pakistan: https://www.dawn.com/news/1247074

[5] Who really wrote our first official National Anthem: https://www.dawn.com/news/641305


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