Mehdi Hassan Passes Away

life history of legendry singer-mehdi hasan
Mehdi Hassan, unarguably the greatest ghazal singer, passed away at a Karachi hospital on Wednesday, the 13th March, ravaged by failing lungs and a host of other ailments, leaving music lovers in both India and Pakistan with a deep sense of loss of a shared heritage. He was 84.


Born into a family of musicians on 18th July 1927 in a small village Luna in Rajasthan, Mehdi for a long time could not pursue his passion. The ghazal maestro was trained at home in his initial years by his father Ustad Azeem Khan and uncle Ustad Ismail Khan who were traditional Dhrupad singers. Being the 16th generation of a musical family, young Hassan had harbored to make a career out of music.

The family was plagued by financial troubles when they shifted to Pakistan during partition. Young Hassan started working in a bicycle shop and later became a car mechanic. But as they say, the passion never died. He continued to pursue his interest, his passion, albeit behind closed doors, within the vicinity of his home.

His first break came in 1957 when he got the opportunity to sing a ‘thumri’ number for Radio Pakistan. The number got him instant recognition in the musical fraternity and he got more offers to sing.

The talented singer had an interest in Urdu poetry and slowly started experimenting with ghazals. Two producers of Radio Pakistan, ZA Bukhari and Rafiq Anwar, tapped this singer’s unique talent and encouraged him to sing ghazals on radio. Hassan had even admitted that he owed a lot to Bukhari and Anwar for establishing his career. The singer soon became a hit amongst the masses as well as discerning audience and ‘Rafta Rafta Wo Meri Hasti Ka Saamaan Ho Gaye’.

The veteran not only sang beautiful ghazals but also rendered his voice to several film numbers in Pakistan. Many feel that the 60s and 70s were dominated by Hassan and his style of ghazals.

His unique style of presenting Urdu couplets and giving a classical touch to soulful music made him the emperor of ghazals. His voice had an enormous range which till date remains unmatched. His mastery over the ‘ragas’ made him the indisputable master of ghazals in the subcontinent.

Hassan had advocated a shared culture, history and music to play a vital role in strengthening ties between Pakistan and India.

In the interview, Hassan had said, "My body belongs to the world but my soul lies in India."

Hassan married twice and is survived by 14 children: nine sons and five daughters.


He had been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions: the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz granted to him by Gen Ayub Khan; the Pride of Performance bestowed on him by Gen Ziaul Haq; and the Hilal-e-Imtiaz conferred by Gen Pervez Musharraf. Besides the Nigar Film and Graduate Awards from Pakistan, he was presented the Saigal Award in Jalandhar, India, in 1979, whereas the Gorkha Dakshina Bahu Award was given to him in Nepal in 1983. Recently, he travelled to Dubai to receive yet another award.

Remembering Mehdi Hassan

World, especially Asian Subcontinent mourning his death, but feel his songs will keep him alive forever.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today led millions of fans in India in mourning the demise of of Ghazal king Mehdi Hassan, saying he will always have a special place in the world of music.
Leaders from various political parties condoled Hassan`s death and said his mellifluous voice will continue to echo for generations. In his message, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal described Hassan as a versatile singer who gave new dimension to the Ghazal singing and regaled millions of music lovers not only in his country but across the globe. Badal described Hassan as `Shahenshah-e-Ghazal`. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that with Hassan`s death, India and Pakistan lost their true cultural ambassador. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said music buffs will never forget his ghazals while his Rajasthan counterpart Ashok Gehlot said he was saddened by Hassan’s demise.

Melody queen Lata Mangeshkar, who once called Hassan the `voice of God`, said, "A singer like him is born once in a millennium. It is my bad luck that I could not sing with him when he was healthy. Now I can only regret. With his demise the music fraternity has lost a great and legendary singer."

Singer Talat Aziz, who trained under Hassan, said, "I feel a tremendous personal sense of loss. I was his `shagird`, I spent a lot of time with him. Though he was not singing for quite some time, but he will be missed. There will never be another Mehdi Hassan."

Pakistani Sufi singer Abida Parveen said. "I remember him saying I can see `sur`. He was legendary. Such people come only once in a while,"

Another Pak singer Adnan Sami said, "He has been an inspiration to anyone who has anything to do with music. It`s difficult to digest that he has passed away."

Zila Khan said, "I am sad as I was when my father died. What aesthetics of music, what a great artiste he was. In his field of work he was a king because his choice of `kalam`, his music, was supreme."

"It is a great loss. Everyone learnt from his music, technique and style of singing. I had the opportunity to meet him and he was always encouraging. He has been unwell since quite some time," said singer Chitra Singh, wife of late Jagjit Singh.

"It is a very sad news. I am shocked that he is no more with us. He was not only a great singer but also a very good human being. I was aware that he was unwell and I had always hoped that I should never get the sad news. But now that has happened, he will always remain alive in our hearts," said veteran musician Pyare Lal.

Megastar Amitabh Bachchan has mourned the death of ghazal maestro Mehdi Hassana and said the era of soulful ghazal singing has come to an end.

"It's a setback to ghazal gayiki (singing). He was a school of singing. Just like Dilip-Raj-Dev influenced a generation of actors, similarly Mehdi Hassan's style influenced most ghazal singers," says Urdu poet Nida Fazli. "Hassan globalised ghazal.

Singer Bhupinder remembers Hassan not only as a great singer of ghazals but also of Pakistani film songs. "His rendition was refined, the style soulful, and his diction immaculate. Unki aawaz mein taiyaari (mature) bhi thi aur thahraav (stillness) bhi ,"


Some of his albums and ghazals are


Kehna Usey


Live At Royal Albert Hall


Classical Ghazals Vol. 1, 2, 3

Dil Jo Rota Hai

Ghalib Ghazals

Ghazals For Ever Vol 1

Golden Collection Of Mehdi Hasan Vol 1, 2

Golden Greats

In Concert

Khuli Jo Aankh

Life Story

Live At Khambays

Live Concert In India

Mehdi Hassan

Mehdi Hassan Ghazals Vol 1

Sada E Ishq


Sur Ki Koi Seema Nahin

The Finest Ghazals

The Legend

Yaadgar Ghazalen Vol 1

Tarz(With Shobha Gurtu)



Aage Barhe Na Qissa -E -Ishq -E- Butaan Se Hum

Aaj Tak Yaad Hai Woh Pyar Ka Manzar

Aankhon Se Mili Aankhen

Aap Ki Aankhon Ne

Aaye Kuchh Abr Kuchh Sharaab Aaye (Faiz Ahmed Faiz)

Ab Ke Hum Bichde To Shaayad Kabhi Khwaabon Mein Mile (Ahmed Faraz)

Ai Raushnion Ke Shahr

Apnon Ne Gham Diye To Yaad Aa Gaya

Bhooli Bisri Chand Umeedein

Chalte Ho To Chaman Ko Chaliye

Charaagh-E-Toor Jalao Bada Andhera Hai

Dekh To Dil Ke Jaan Se Uthta Hai

Dil-E-Naadaan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai (Mirza Ghalib)

Dil Ki Baat Labon Par Laakar.

Dil Men Toofan Chupaae Baitha Hoon

Duniya Kisi Ke Pyaar Mein Jaanat Se Kam Nahin

Dayam Pada Hua Tere Dar Pe Nahi Hoon Main (Mirza Ghalib)

Ek Bar Chale Aao

Ek Bus Tu Hi Nahin Mujhse Khafa Ho Baitha (Farhat Shezhad)

Ek Sitam Aur Meri Jaan, Abhi Jaan Baqi Hai (Masroor Anwar)

Fikr Hi Thahari To Dil Ko Fikr-E-Khubaan Kyon Na Ho (Josh Malihabadi)

Ga Mere Dewane Dil

Garmi-E-Hasarat-E-Naakaam Se Jal Jaate Hain

Gulon Main Rang Bhare, Baad-E-Naubahaar Chale (Faiz Ahmed Faiz)

Gulshan Gulshan Shola-E-Gul Ki

Ghuncha-E-Shauq Laga Hai Khilne

Hamari Saanson Men Aaj Tak

Har Dard Ko

Humein Koi Ghum Nahin Tha Ghum-E-Aashiqi Sai Pahlay

Ik Husn Ki Dewi Se Mujhe Pyaar Hua Thaa

Ik Khalish Ko Haasil-E-Umr-E-Ravaan Rehne Diya (Adeeb Saharanpuri)

Jab Bhi Aati Hei Teri Yaad Kabhi Shaam Ke Baad

Jab Bhi Chaahen Ek Nai Soorat

Jab Bhi Pee Kar

Jab Koi Pyar Se Bulaaey Ga

Jab Us Zulf Ki Baat Chali

Jahan Jaa Ke Chain

Kahan Gai Woh Wafa

Khuli Jo Aankh Woh Tha (Farhat Shezhad)

Kiya Hai Pyaar Jisse Hum Ne Zindagi Ki Tarah

Kya Bhala Mujhko Parakhne Ka Nateeja Nikla

Kyoon Hum Se Khafa Ho Gaye Ae Jaan-E-Tamanna

Main Hosh Mein Tha

Main Khayal Hoon Kisi Aur Ka (Saleem Kausar)

Main Nazar Se Pee Raha Hoon

Mohabat Karne Wale

Mohabat Zindagi Hai Aur Tum Meri Mohabat Ho

Mujhe Tum Nazar Se Gira To Rahe Ho

Naavak Andaz Jidhar Deeda-E-Jaanan Honge

Patta Patta Boota Boota

Phool Hi Phool Khil Utthe

Pyaar Bhare Do Sharmile Nain

Rafta Rafta Wo Meri Hasti Ka Saamaan Ho Gaye

Ranjish Hi Sahi Dil Hi Dukhaane Ke Liye Aa

Rim Jhim Ki Barsaat Hai Aur Jaage Huye Jazbaat Hain

Roshan Jamal-E-Yaar Se Hai

Saamne Aa Ke Tujhko Pukara Nahin

Sahar Ho Rahi Hai

Shikwa Na Kar Gila Na Kar Ye Duniya Hai Pyaare

Shola Tha Jal Bujha Hoon (Ahmed Faraz)

Tanha Thi Aur Hamesha Se Tanha Hai Zindagi

Tark-E-Ulfat Ka Sila

Tere Bheege Badan Ki Khushboo Se

Tere Mere Pyar Ka Aisa Naata Hai

Toote Hue Khwabon Ke Liye

Thahar Thodi Der To

Tu Meri Zindagi Hai

Usne Jab Meri Taraf

Uzr Aane Mein Bhi Hei Aur Bulaate Bhi Nahin

Wo Dil Nawaaz Hei Lekin Nazar Shinaas Nahin

Yaaro Kisi Qaatil Se Kabhi Pyaar Na Maango

Yun Na Mil Mujhse Khafa Ho Jaise

Ye Dhuwaan Kahan Se Uthta Hei

Ye Kaghzi Phool Jaise Chehre

Ye Mojazaa Bhi Muhabbat Kabhi Dikhaaye Mujhe

Ye Tera Naazuk Badan Hai Ya Koi Mehka Gulaab

Yoon Zindagi Ki Raah Mein Takra Gaya Koi

Zindagi Mein To Sabhi Pyaar Kiya Karte Hain

Zulf Ko Teri Ghataon Ka Payam Aaya Hai