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Monday, March 20, 2006

Mohammad Rafi: India's greatest playback singer, the man with the golden voice

Rafi: An Indian Muslim role model

One of my friends who is a committed Jan Sanghi*, recently said in an argument that Muhammad Rafi was a man he always idolised despite his own distaste towards Muslims in his teenage years.

'I don't think any other Muslim has been loved, admired and heard so much in this country', he said and I couldn't agree more.

Among umpteen Indian Muslim role models, Rafi's stardom is unique.

When we talk about Muslims who were and are role models, we hardly remember Rafi these days.

The most popular playback singer ever, Rafi's melodious voice has enchanted, enamoured countless Indians.

Rafi sahab lifted the moods of millions everday for the last five decades. From 1946 to 1980 Rafi Sahab reigned over the Bombay film industry.

Across the vast landscape of this country, wherever you go you will surely hear Rafi's voice from radios at the streetside shops and homes.

It is generally believed that there can never be a second Rafi. A great singer and a great human being, Rafi Sahab helped innumerable needy persons.

There used to be a queue outside his house and he handed over the envelopes containing Rs 100 or Rs 200 without asking anybody's name.

Rafi was born in 1924 in Punjab and passed away in 1980.When he passed away, Gulzar wrote a verse that was recently republished in some Urdu magazines, titled 'Ba-yaad-e-Haji Mohammad Rafi'

Read the Nazm:

Kahta hai koi
Dil gaya, Dilbar chala gaya
Sahil hai pukarta
Samandar chala gaya
Jo baat sach hai kahta nahin koi
Ki is dunia se mauseequi ka payambar chala gaya

[*Jansanghi is a word still used often for a hardcore right-wing man. The person I describe here is a right-wing Hindutva follower, more because of his family's association with BJP, RSS and Jana Sangh than his own conviction]


bhupinder singh said...

And no one has sung the bhajan in Hindustani movies as well as Rafi saab did- to me that sums up the man and his legacy.

Shabana said...

Rafi was exemplary as a professional and human being. I think his voice is absolutely beautiful and sweeter than anything I've heard since after him. God rest his soul in peace.

Trip said...

I heard Madhuban mein radhika... the other day and I was simply stunned. What an amazing guy. Simply amazing. We want more Indians like him...


Sushil Bagal said

Rafisaab was a perfect example of a great human being and great singer.

Having sung more than 26000 songs itself speaks the greatness and the geniousness of this legendary singer.

May his soul rest in peace

Anonymous said...
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sufiyana said...

If god would sing he would do it in Rafi's voice


Anonymous said...

Wonderful people like Mohammed Rafi and Dr. Abdul Kalam, we would consider as examples of true Indian muslims. Why can't we have more of them?

arshed10 said...

i still believe kishore was the best.

TJJ said...

I still cry when I hear his songs. He was and will always be the best Indian singer ever - to me.

spsyed said...

Rafi sahib was above religious, race, cast, political, national and even commercial differences. As a Rafi-family friend, and neighbour in London, for over 50 years, I am honoured to have met the most humble, honourable and modest man that I ever knew in my whole lifetime. Rafi entertained people. He politely refused to copy other singers in case they get offended. So, is it fair to compare him with others, alive or dead? Some of his best songs are available without subscription fee at http://www.youtube.com/spsyed – a website dedicated to the entertainers and their fans. Enjoy, comment, rate, provide feedback, subscribe, join as friends, and share it far and wide.

Anonymous said...

i do not think there should be any comparison between Shri. Mohammad Rafi Jee and other tits-bits, as many would agree with me, he is still simply incomparable. My humble tribute to him. Wish I could have meet him personally to convey what his voice means to me.

Rakesh Malhotra

sudhir kumbhar said...