AMONG the many gifted singers Pakistan has had in its history, S.B. John will always be remembered as the one who sang the unforgettable Tu jo nahin hai to kuchh bhi nahin hai. Though many of his ghazals are still played by Radio Pakistan from time to time, the song remains his identity, and rightly so. The voice of any singer is a tribute to the nation and we should always appreciate them. Our present-day singers are also following in the footsteps of their predecessors and earning a good name for the country.
S.B. John is no more. He was one of those artists who faded away after attaining the heights of fame and success. He later became a music teacher at the Army Public School. He used to say jokingly that on the day of singing this monumental song he was suffering from bad cold and that was the reason of this song becoming a success!
Talking of his personality, he was a humane, liberal and refined gentleman with a bright sense of humour. He laughed at his own follies and remained humble and contented with life, though he clearly deserved much more and better.
He always performed his duties as the music teacher devotedly and was helpful in creating a sense of music among his students. He was always friendly, jovial and ready to share his jokes. He often came to me with a broad smile, and would say: “Sir, ek naya aya hay, zabt nahin ho raha”, as if begging me to lend my ears which I would always do willingly and most heartily.
He will be missed.
Air Cdre (retd) Khayyam Durrani
Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2021