Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan passed away at a local hospital in Karachi on Wednesday.
Mehdi Hassan, the king of the music fraternity, was born on July 18, 1927 in Rajistan. Hassan, who has a huge fan following all over the world, was suffering from lung, chest and urinary tract disorder since the past many years.
He is famously known as the ‘King of ghazal’ . He has ruled the Pakistan film industry along with Ahmed Rushdi. He was honoured with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, and Gorkha Dakshina Bahu by the Government of Nepal. Besides the Nigar Film and Graduate Awards from Pakistan, he was presented the Saigal Award in Jalandhar, India, in 1979. Recently, he travelled to Dubai to receive yet another award.
He claims to be the 16th generation of hereditary musicians hailing from the Kalawant clan of musicians. Mehdi Hassan had his musical grooming from his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were both traditional Dhrupad singers. Hassan started to perform at a young age and the first concert of dhrupad and kheyal with his elder brother is reported to have been held in Fazilka Bungla near present DC House (1935) of Undivided Punjab. After the Partition of India, 20-year-old Hassan and his family migrated to Pakistan and suffered severe financial hardships.
To make both the ends meet Mehdi started working in a bicycle shop and later became a car and diesel tractor mechanic. Despite the hardships, his passion for music didn’t wither and he kept up the routine of practice on a daily basis.
The struggle ended when Mehdi Hassan was given the opportunity to sing on Radio Pakistan in 1957, primarily as a thumri singer, which earned him recognition within the musical fraternity. At the time, Ustad Barkat Ali Khan, Begum Akhtar and Mukhtar Begum were considered the stalwarts of ghazal rendition.
He also had a passion for Urdu poetry and began to experiment by singing ghazals on a part-time basis. He cites radio officers Z.A. Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar as additional influences in his progression as a ghazal singer. He is known as the best ghazal singer of all times.
Some of his famous albums are Kehna Usey, Nazrana, Live at Royal Albert Hall, Andaz-e-Mastana, Calssical Ghazals, Dil Jo Rota hai, Ghalib Ghazals.
Ref: Dawn News, The News, Geo TV (Pakistan)