Malika Pukhraj (Urdu: ملكہ پکھراج ) (b1912 – 2004) was a highly popular Ghazal and folk singer of Pakistan. She was generally called as “Malika” meaning “The Queen.” She is extremely popular for her rendition of Hafeez Jalandhri’s song, Abhi to main jawan hoon (“I am still youthful”), which is enjoyed by millions not only in Pakistan, but also in India. Her popular numbers were,Lo phir basant aayaand Quli Qutub’s Piya baaj piyale piya jaye na and Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s Mere qatil mere dildar mere paas raho.
Malika Pukhraj, was born in village Mirpur, on the banks of the River Akhnoor, 16 miles from Jammu, British India. As she grew up her mother moved to Rajinder Bazar, Kanak Mandi area of Jammu, where she spent early years of her life. She was given the name “Malika” at birth, by ‘Majzoob’, Baba Roti Ram, a spiritualist, in Akhnoor area, and named Pukhraj by her Aunt
Malika Pukhraj received her training from Ustad Ali Baksh Kasuri, father of legendary singer Ustad Bade Ghulam Ali Khan.
At age nine, At nine she visited Jammu and performed at the coronation ceremony of Maharaja Hari Singh, who was so impressed by her voice that he appointed her as a court singer in his Durbar, and she stayed there for another nine years.
She was among the greatest singers of British India in the 1940s, and after Partition of India in 1947, she migrated to Lahore, Pakistan, where she received further fame, through her radio performances with composer, Kale Khan.
In 1980, she received the Presidential Pride of Performance Award, Pakistan. In 1977, when All India Radio, for which she sang until Partition, was celebrating its Golden Jubilee, she was invited to India, and awarded with the ‘legend of Voice’ award. Malika Pukhraj also recorded her memoirs in the novel Song Sung True.
Malika Pukhraj, died in Lahore on February 4, 2004. Her funeral procession started from her residence West Canal bank, and she was buried at her ancestral ‘Shah Jamal’ graveyard in Lahore.
Malika Pukhraj was married to Syed Shabbir Hussain Shah, a Government Officer and had six children, including Tahira Syed, one of her two daughters, emerged as a well-known singer. Her other daughter, Tasneem, is married to famous lawyer and senator S.M. Zafar. She has four sons; their names are Tarique, Tauqeer, Tanveer, and Tasvir.