My oldest memories of listening to Mehdi Hasan sahib date back to school days when we used to listen to his duet with Noorjehan jado teri dunia ton pyar tur jayega, das fer dunia te ki reh jayega on Radio Pakistan, Lahore. Almost every alternate day this song played on Radio Pakistan, Lahore or Islamabad.
I loved Noorjehan’s voice but didn’t know much about Mehdi Hasan. While growing up I became a big fan of Pakistani music and regularly used to listen to it on radio but didn’t know about all the singers.
Years gone by and here I was doing my Engineering in 2000. My roommate was a huge fan of Jagjit Singh and from there I also started listened to some ghazals of Jagjit Singh. I don’t remember how but I started listening to Ghulam Ali and became a huge fan of him. I have listened to Ghulam Ali much more than Jagjit Singh. So that was how I started listening to Ghazals. I had heard a lot about the greatness of Mehdi Hasan but had never listened to him properly.
I think it was 2005 (if i remember correctly) that I listened to ranjish hi sahi and I became an instant fan of his rendition.
Then for quite some time I didnt really listen to Mehdi Hasan sahib. It was until 2007 when I came across one CD titled Mehdi Hasan – 40 immortal Ghazals. Once again I loved Mehdi sahib’s rendition of Saleem Kauser’s main khiyal hoon kisi aur ka. That continued for quite some time but again only one ghazal.
Then came a time in 2007 or 2008 when I was alone for almost 2 months. All of my roommates either moved abroad or to some other cities in India. I was already his fan but now being alone gave me a plenty of time to listen to him. That was when I became his huge huge admirer. His style and handling of ghazals was so different from everyone else and just amazing. It was a different world. The CD I mentioned above had live versions of main khiyal hoon kisi aur ka, abke hum bichde & go zara si baat par.
For complete 2 months, daily evenings were enlightened by magic of these three ghazals. Then started the journey to other gems like ranjish hi sahi (once again), main hosh mein tha, shola tha jal bujha hoon, yeh dhuaan sa kahan se uth-ta hai amoungst others. This journey continues till date while exploring the different live versions of his ghazals. He was, remains and will remain the king of ghazal singing. His style, the way he rendered poetry and his command on ghazal singing are absolutely magical. Now that he is no more with us, an era has ended. This void will never be filled. There is no one and there will be no one who can sing like him. There was and will be only one Mehdi Hasan. His music will remain alive with us for ever. I think the best tribute to him would be to listen to and remember the beautiful music he created make the coming generations aware of his magic. It is a sad day. I have no words to explain the feeling of loss that all the music lovers must be going through. Perhaps Faraz sahib aptly put it: ab ke hum bichde to shayad kabhi khwabon mein milein
We will miss you Mehdi Hasan sahib…may your soul rest in peace.