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Pathanay Khan’s relics up for auction

May 01, 2007

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MUZAFFARGARH, April 30: Iqbal Pathanay Khan, son of famous Saraiki folk musician Pathanay Khan, said that he will auction his father’s tabla, harmonium, a crutch and 79 awards in front of the PTV’s Lahore office on Aug 14 this year

Iqbal, himself a professional folk singer, told Dawn that despite publication of a report regarding the financial woes of the maestro’s family, so far no government department had contacted him to extend any help. Only a Senator, Amjad Qureshi, sent a fax asking him to send him his bio-data, he said. “A Seraiki TV channel offered me a job, but they did not contact me again,” he added.

When asked what he would do if no one bought the belongings of his father, he said then he would donate the things to the Lahore Museum, as in his dilapidated house these precious items were not safe. However, he hoped the Lahorites would not disappoint him.

Iqbal, who holds a music event every year on March 28, the death anniversary of Pathanay Khan, said: “Actually, whenever we see these awards, it pains us, reminding us that how a great singer was treated by society. PTV, Radio Pakistan and recording companies earned millions of rupees by airing and selling kafis and folk songs composed and sung by our father, but gave him not even enough money to get his house repaired.

“This house was built by my father and in one of its rooms he used to do riaz (music practice). Here, he composed his timeless kafis like ‘Meda ishaq vee toon, ‘Cheenra een chareenda yaar’, ‘Peeloon pakian nee’, ‘Kia haal sunanwaan dil da, and many others.

In his lifetime, many government functionaries promised Pathanay Khan that his house would be preserved as cultural heritage, but none of them did any thing in this regard, he deplored.

“My father fought against hypocrisy through out his life, and through his singing he spread the teachings of saints. He was exploited by hypocrites as he was not in the habit of bargaining.

“In 1984, Multan Mayor Salahuddin Dogar announced that a plot would be given to Pathanay Khan in Lodhi Colony. He was allotted plot No 37, but we could never get it due to the red tap or official corruption.” He said.

Similarly, he said, in 2000, PTV World authorities pledged to give Rs500,000 to the heirs of Pathanay Khan, but did not give a single penny to them.

“Actually, Pathanay Khan was a selfless person. In 1976, Zulifkar Ali Bhutto invited him to Islamabad for a private music event. When Pathanay Khan sang ‘Dil li dilree lutee tain yaar sajan Kadi mor maharan tay wal a watan’, Bhutto broke into tears. After the programme, the prime minister asked Pathanay Khan three times if he had any desire, but every time the singer’s reply was, ‘Bhutto Sahib, aap ko ghrib awam ki parat ho (Bhutto Sahib, take care of the poor.). At this, Bhutto hugged Pathanay Khan and said I will surely take care of the poor.

Iqbal said he had a lot of expectations from Benzir Bhutto when she came into power in 1988, but She did nothing for the welfare of Pathanay Khan.

He said that though the present rulers preach moderation a lot but in remote areas religious extremism and bigotry were thriving. He said that he was frowned upon by certain elements for holding music event annually at the death anniversary of his father. Even Pathanay Khan himself could not hold any music event in his hometown because of facing opposition from hardliners, he added.