GHAZAL MAESTRO MEHDI HASSAN NO MORE
‘Teri Mehfil Mein Lekin Hum Na Honge’
PRESS TRUST OF INDIA
Karachi, June 13: Mehdi Hassan, the India-born ‘Emperor of Ghazals’ who captivated millions of fans in the subcontinent with hits like ‘Patta, Patta, Boota Boota’ and ‘Ab Ke Hum Bichhade’ in a five-decade-long musical journey, died Wednesday in a hospital here of multiple organ failure.
The 84-year-old legendary singer, who was admitted in the intensive care unit of Agha Khan Hospital some days ago, “passed away at 12:22 pm after a long battle against different ailments,” his son Arif Hassan said.
“My father had been ill for the past 12 years and had multiple lung, chest and urinary tract ailments,” Arif said.
Hundreds of fans gathered at the hospital on learning of the death of Hassan, the voice behind evergreen numbers like ‘Aaye Kuchh Abr Kuchh Sharaab Aaye’; ‘Dil-e-nadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai’ and ‘Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laakar’.
Hassan, who would have turned 85 on July 18, cut back on his performances in the late 1980s due to illness and had been in and out of hospital over the past three years.
The music maestro, who married twice, is survived by 14 children - nine sons and five daughters. His wives predeceased him.
News of his death triggered an outpouring of grief in both Pakistan and India as the singer had millions of fans on both sides of the border.
His end came eight months after the demise of iconic Indian ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, who was highly influenced by Hassan.
Pakistan Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani described Hassan as “an icon who mesmerized music lovers not only in Pakistan but also in the subcontinent for many decades.”
In India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed deep grief and said Hassan had “brought the subcontinental Sufi sensibilities to life through his songs.”
The influence of Hassan’s passion for Urdu poetry and initial grooming in the dhrupad tradition earned him a special place in music, Singh said.
Hassan was born into a family of traditional musicians at Luna village in India’s Rajasthan state in 1927.
His family migrated to Pakistan at the time of Partition and settled in Chichawatni village in Punjab province.
He became interested in music at a very young age and trained under his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan, both traditional dhrupad singers.
Hassan had a passion for Urdu poetry and began to experiment with singing ghazals.
His family was living in poverty but despite the hardships, Hassan’s passion for music did not wither and he kept up the routine of ‘riyaz’ (practice) on a daily basis.
In an attempt to make both ends meet, Hassan started working in a bicycle shop. He got his first break on Radio Pakistan in 1957 when he was given an opportunity to perform as a thumri singer.
Hassan later began singing for Pakistani films and made a breakthrough with the song ‘Gullon Mein Rang Bharay’ in the film ‘Farangi’ in 1964. He went on to be acknowledged as one of the finest Ghazal singers of all time.
Hassan’s son Asif Mehdi Hassan, himself a well-known singer, recalled his father was strict teacher. “As a father, he was very soft-spoken but as a music teacher, he was very hot tempered. When I started learning from him at the age of seven or eight, I fled after a few beatings. But when I understood the music, I continued learning despite the scolding and learnt singing from him.”
As a special tribute, Radio Pakistan today began its 1 pm news bulletin with Hassan’s ghazal ‘Teri Mehfil Mein Lekin Hum Na Honge.”
Hassan, who last performed in India in 2000, wanted to visit the country of his birth again, a dream which remained unfulfilled.
Arif had even received the visa in April for Hassan’s treatment in an Indian hospital but they could not travel as the singer’s condition deteriorated.
Despite his ill health, Hassan had a great desire to sing with melody queen Lata Mangeshkar. In 2010, ‘Sarhadein’, an album which had the first and last duet song ‘tera milana’ by Hassan and Lata, was released.
Hassan recorded his part in Pakistan in 2009 and Lata later heard the track and recorded her part in India in 2010. The tracks were later mixed together for a duet.
Lata, who once called Hassan the ‘voice of God’, said “A singer like him is born once in a millennium. It is my bad luck that I could not sing with him when he was healthy. Now I can only regret. With his demise the music fraternity has lost a great and legendary singer.”
Pakistan’s state-run broadcaster aired special programs to pay tribute to Hassan, who had received numerous awards, including the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz.
He was also a recipient of the Saigal Award of India and the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu Award of Nepal.
MANMOHAN, OTHERS EXPRESS GRIEF
Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today led millions of fans in India in mourning the demise of Ghazal king Mehdi Hassan, saying he will always have a special place in the world of music.
Expressing "deep grief" over the passing away of Hassan, the Prime Minister said the influence of his passion for Urdu poetry and initial grooming in Dhrupad tradition earned for him a special place in the world of music.
"Hassan brought the sub-continental Sufi sensibilities to life through his songs," Singh said.
Leaders from various political parties condoled Hassan's death and said his mellifluous voice will continue to echo for generations.
In his message, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described Hassan as a versatile singer who gave new dimension to the Ghazal singing and regaled millions of music lovers not only in his country but across the globe.
He said that Hassan's death has created a void which was difficult to fill. Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal described Hassan as 'Shahenshah-e-Ghazal'.
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that with Hassan's death, India and Pakistan lost their true cultural ambassador.
"Hassan leaves behind a rich legacy and a treasure trove of beautiful melodies behind. With his death, we have lost a true cultural ambassador of India and Pakistan," she said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said music buffs will never forget his ghazals while his Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot said he was saddened by Hassan's demise.
Rajasthan government had in January offered to bear all medical expenses of the ailing singer in India and also taken up the issue of visa to his family members with the Centre last month.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 13 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 14 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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