Mehdi Hassan was an institution in himself: Zardari
Hassan brought the sub-continental Sufi sensibilities to life through his songs: Singh
KARACHI - Legendary Pakistani Ghazal singer, Mehdi Hassan, passed away after a protracted illness in a private hospital in Karachi, Pakistan on Wednesday.
Only last month, king of ghazal Mehdi Hassan, was discharged from hospital. However, just a day later, he was admitted back due to health problems. This time round though, he hasn't been put on ventilator.
Mehdi Hassan's son Arif confirmed the news and added, "My father has been ill for the last 12 years but this year, his condition has deteriorated significantly and in the last one month, he was released from hospital for just one day before being admitted again."
Mehdi Hassan, who has a huge fan following all over the world, was suffering from lung, chest and urinary tract ailments for the past many years.
He was born on July 18, 1927 in a village called Luna in Rajasthan, India into a family of traditional musicians.
Pakistani President, Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani paid glowing tribute to the legendary singer Mehdi Hassan. Pakistani President said Mehdi Hassan was an institution in himself and would always remain a beacon for the young artistes to learn from his mastery of singing. Prime Minister Gilani said, "Mehdi Hassan is an icon, who mesmerized the music lovers not only in Pakistan but also in the Sub-continent for many decades."
Mr. Hassan had performed in India on several occasions; his last concert in the country was held in 2000. He sang a duet for an album with the legendary Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar, which was released in 2010.
As the music fraternity mourned the death of Ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassan, Ms. Mangeshkar expressed grief at Mr. Hassan's death, saying, "A voice like his may never be heard again," media reported.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a Twitter post: "Shri [Mr.] Hassan brought the sub-continental Sufi sensibilities to life through his songs."
Actors, singers and politicians took to social media Web sites and Twitter to share their condolences.
Bollywood superstar, Shah Rukh Khan (SRK) went down memory lane to recall the times he listened to the legendary singer. SRK took to twitter to share his memory of Hassan, following multiple organ failure at the age of 84. He shared a few lines from a Hassan song: "Zindagi mein toh sabhi pyaar kiya karte hain... main toh meri jaan, markrr bhi tumhein chahoonga... (Everybody loves during their lives, I will love you even when I am dead).
"The former cricketer and Pakistani politician Imran Khan wrote on Twitter: "Saddened to hear of the death of our legend Mehdi Hassan. His music will live on but we are poorer with his passing away."
From Shreya Ghoshal to Anupam Kher, they all mourn his death, but feel his songs will keep him alive forever.
"We have grown up with his music. We have learnt a lot from his style and techniques. It is sad that he is gone, but the way he was living for past few years was not a life. So it is good for him that he is gone. My husband and I met him when we had gone to Pakistan. I will always remember his ghazal - 'Ranjish hi sahi," Chitra Singh told IANS.
Many others took to Twitter to pay respect to the singer, who sang soulful numbers like "Ranjish hi sahi" and "Abke bicchde khwaabon mein mile".
Here's what they had to say:
Shreya Ghoshal: Shri (Mr) Mehdi Hassan is no more among us. The voice, who made many music lovers and lovers find an expression of their hearts' stories, is gone.
"Mehdi Hassan, The voices who kept the legacy of ghazals alive are gone... This void can never be filled ever again."
Anupam Kher: Very saddened to hear about my favorite ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan's demise. As a student I had gate-crashed into Pakistan Embassy to listen to him.
Kailash Kher: Another Legend (Mehdi Hassan) has gone from this world. It seems the sun of ghazals is hiding behind clouds of sadness, he added.
Shankar Mahadevan: Mr. Hassan, huge loss to the world of music. Though his voice is immortal.
Madhur Bhandarkar: Emperor of ghazals no more... R.I.P Mehdi Hassan. You will be missed sorely!
Kabir Bedi: Saddened that Ghazal King Mehdi Hassan passed away. What a phenomenal impact he made with his unique voice and style!
Manoj Bajpayee: Ghazal King, one of my favorites, Mehdi saab passed away. May his soul rest in peace!
Meiyang Chang: My dad loved Mehdi Hassan saab. He was his biggest musical influence, and as a result, my first. RIP huzoor, your voice shall never fade away.
Dia Mirza: Mehdi Hassan saab. Your songs are eternal.
Mehdi Hassan was honored with Tamgha-e-Imtiaz, Pride of Performance and Hilal-e-Imtiaz by the Government of Pakistan, Saigal Award by Indian government and Gorkha Dakshina Bahu by the Government of Nepal.
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 of eight and sang in more than 325 films.
To make both the ends meet Mehdi started working in Chichawatni, in a bicycle shop. He 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.
Arif Mehdi said that the funeral would take place on Friday, June 15. (Outlook/Agencies)