MUSIC is a universal language. It unifies people irrespective of caste, culture, colour and creed. Mehdi Hassan is one of the most shining stars of the music world.
Mehdi Hassan ruled over millions of hearts with his melodious and sonorous voice. Throughout his career lasting five decades, he sang more than 25,000 songs, keeping him alive in the hearts of people.
No one can replace this legendary singer ever. He was the undisputed king of classical music, especially ghazal, thumri and raag.
His work has also enhanced the poetry of thought-provoking poets like Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Mir Taqi Mir, Bulle Shah and Ahmad Faraz.
His unique style of singing coupled with his honeyed voice, correct rhythm, accurate timing and perfect high-notes made his live renditions soul-stirring and heart-touching, putting in trance the listeners.
Once Mehdi Hassan forgot his lines while singing Zindagi mein tau sabhi pyar kia karte hain on stage in Kathmandu in 1983, the then king stood up and recited the lines for him. This depicts the familiarity with his ghazals and the love for him.
Lata Mangeshkar, the queen of melody, once, while talking about Mehdi Hassan, said, In ke gale mein tau Bhagwan rehta hai.
Singers like Farida Khanum, Mehdi Hassan, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Noor Jehan and Abida Parveen not only promoted the message of peace, love, spiritualism, patriotism, brotherhood, Sufism and humanity, but also made us proud internationally.
Ironically, their art is less appreciated, encouraged and compensated now in Pakistan. Despite their giving tremendous service throughout their life, our government did not support them in their old age. Even their children lead a miserable life. However, India offered Mehdi Hassan and other singers to come for their treatment along with being provided free accommodation. Such types of inspirational, exemplary and motivational personalities are to be honoured with awards and applaud.
Mehdi Hassan is not among us today but his work will remain immortal until love, peace and music remain alive. Such precious art needs to be preserved and promoted for posterity’s sake.
Due to poor response in Pakistan, the brain drain continues. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, Adnan Sami Khan, Atif Aslam, Sanam Marvi, Ali Zafar, etc., are Pakistani but serving the Indian music industry.
Given the importance of music, the government should encourage all artistes with ample opportunities. The public should also expose their love for such national heroes.
DINESH CHANDOO GUJRATI Jhuddo