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An Appeal: Bharat Ratna for the Legendary Singer, Padmashree Mohd. Rafi Saab

This appeal is shared by Mr. Naresh Sharma.

An Appeal Bharat Ratna for the Legendary Singer, Padmshree Mohd. Rafi SaabName of Rafi Saab is synonymous to the arena of playback singing and so long as there are music lovers in any nook and corner of the world, the name of this legendary singer and a saintly figure, who left for heavenly abode 27 years back in 1980 (31st July, 1980), can not be forgotten. In 1967, he was bestowed upon the Padma Shree by the Government of India in recognition to his contributions to the field of film music. To keep his memories alive, the Government of Maharashtra has named a road in Mumbai as “Padmshree Mohd. Rafi Chowk” also.

Amongst the greatest Indians born, Mohd. Rafi Saab was unarguably the true ambassador of this country – an iconic symbol whose persona and career can be succinctly eulogized as cultural heritage. There is not a lexicon made that can encompass his astonishing feats. The respect, love and adoration the whole country has for him is phenomenal by all standards. His music is not restricted to Indian territory only. His was voice not only of Indian the sub-continent but also of the whole world, i.e. the impact of his music and personality still influences not only the Indian sub-continent (India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Burma Afghanistan etc.), but also the Middle East, South Africa, Canada, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Fizi, West Indies and African and European countries. The music critics treat his voice to be the most democratic, secular and divine one.

In his 36 years long career as a playback singer, Rafi Saab sang all types of songs/music (Bhajans, Patriotic Songs, Classical Songs, Ghazals, Qwwali, Sad song, Happy songs, Humerous songs etc.); he sang for every mood and for every occasion. His songs were (rather are) for people of all the sections of the society, different religions/faiths & practices/sects and age groups. He sang for all-from a rickshaw puller to a landlord, from a beggar to a king, from a child to an old man. It was his voice which rose above all petty human barriers and set a glorious example of impeccable dignity and honour in a strife-torn world. This was the reason that even after 27 years after his death, his divine and soulful voice continues to inspire people of all age groups, all sections of the society, all religions etc.; his matchless and evergreen voice has inspired generation and will continue to do so. Truly, he was the singer of the masses.

Mohd Rafi
Mohd Rafi

His sweet-peerless voice has become integral part of our life and psyche. Rafi Saab, as the world knows him, was an epitome of excellence and paragon of virtues in an industry known for its crass commercial values. Rafi Saab provided unmatched brilliance to thousands of compositions of great lyricists and music composers of that era (1944-1980). Musicians of the yesteryears and of present time, who have worked with him, consider his voice to be God’s own voice. For this legendary singer, the song came first, rewards and remunerations later. He was a humble man and very down to earth. The glory of Rafi Saab will never fade away from human memory. An ideal citizen and an ideal professional, he was an embodiment of all virtues. He will remain a source of inspiration not only for the music lovers, but also to all those who are blessed to be born in this country.

Mohammad Rafi is a jewel in India’s crown. People already consider him “Bharat Ka Ratna”. However, it is prayed to the Government of India to confer upon him posthumously the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratn, for which if there is anybody whose name first comes to the mind, it is Rafi Sahab’s only. Mohammad Rafi deserves Bharat Ratna for reasons more than one. Followings are some of the supporting factors:-

  1. He was one simple soul who was much above the factional and communal politics. He was an apostle of secularism. By conferring Bharat Ratna on Mohammad Rafi posthumously, right signals will be sent to all the right-thinking people of this country.
  2. Bharat Ratn is being given to the personalities related to the field of art and culture (music, literature etc.). It is being given posthumously also. The precedent to bestow this coveted award posthumously and to the people belonging to the field of Art & culture is already there.
  3. Rafi Saab was a true Gandhian. After the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948, he paid his tributes to the “Father of the Nation” by singing the song “Suno suno ae duniyawalon Bapu ki ye amar kahani." The song was so soulfully sung by this singer that even Pt. Nehru could not stop his tears.
  4. During the wars with China and Pakistan in 1962 and 1965 respectively, when the nation was in difficult times, his patriotic songs gave strength to the soldiers and the whole nation. During the wars with Pakistan and China, he even went to the war fronts and sang amongst the soldiers (Jawans) in his joshbhari voice.
  5. He was the biggest ambassador of this country in the field of Art & Culture (music), who has been adjudged as singer of the millennium. His contribution in spreading Indian music to outside world is phenomenal.
  6. Since this wonderful artist and a great human being (fakir/saint by nature) got (and is still getting) love from people of all the religions/faiths/practices/castes/creed/gender and nationalities, it is earnestly felt that giving this long-awaited recognition to Rafi Saab will serve as a great binding force for the distanced communities.
  7. This one-man music institution has given bread and butter to thousands of people. Today, twenty-seven years after his death, he is still a one-man ‘Gharana’.
  8. He was a Muslim by birth. He regarded all the religions to be one, which he even asserted in many of his songs. In his songs, he sang everyone-Lord Ram, Lord Vishnu, Lord Krishn, Lord Shiv, Guru Nanak, Yeshu, Islamic devotions, Saint Kabir etc.. Despite being Muslim, counting of the Devotional songs/Bhajans and Patriotic songs rendered by him are far more than those by any other playback singer in the Indian Film Industry. He has worked for uniting the whole of India into a single entity by way of his songs sung in almost all the Indian languages, for people of all the faiths, castes, creeds etc.
  9. A person of his caliber, contributions and qualities is the most deserving one.
  10. Honouring Mohammad Rafi is honouring the humanity itself. In fact, the title Bharat Ratna would feel honoured to be bestowed upon to this truly great son of the soil.
  11. Amongst the nominations for this prestigious Highest Civillian Award, his is the only nomination from the field of Art & Culture.

Though Maharashtra Government has agreed in principle for awarding of Bharat Ratn to Rafi Saab, it is prayed to the Government of India to confer the country’s highest civilian award on him which he so rightly deserves.

In view of the aforesaid, it is once again requested that the Government of India agrees to this earnest appeal and announce him to be Bharat Ratn awardee on the occasion of 26th January, 2008, for which he is the only nominee from the field of art and culture this year.

Long live India long live Mohammad Rafi !

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82 Blog Comments to “An Appeal: Bharat Ratna for the Legendary Singer, Padmashree Mohd. Rafi Saab”

  1. W.Y.Er.Suresh a Malviya civil says:

    Rafisahab isthe father of the playback singing,hence no need of any award for rafi sahab like mahatma gandhi.Yet beit if govt. give him bharat ratna it will be honour for award itself.

  2. Moinuddin Saiyed says:

    Mohammad Rafi deserve the Bharat Ratna much earliyar then Lata Mangeshkar because he is a much better singer and Human then her. Every person who is honest and fair will deffinatly agree on that. He was the best artist and human in Bollywood for ever.

  3. shammi says:

    I’m not going to say whether the existing recipients of the Bharat Ratna are worthy or not but most definitely Mohd Rafi is and should have been awarded it while he was alive but still I say better late than never, and I personally think those responsible of making such decisions should hang their heads in shame because like many others have said he should be top of the list.
    He was the most versatile singer ever, and helped the needy surely all the contribution he made to Indian cinema should count as something and he is as popular as ever even though it’s been over 30 years after his death.
    If the right people don’t receive the awards the awards in time will become meaningless.

  4. Rafi Saab is alive though not physically but his songs made him amar and he is living among us, in our memories. If The Govt. does not think of giving him BHARAT RATNA, it does not mean that his popularity graph will go down, no way, the true fans of Rafi Saab will always thinking him he is the Bharat Ratna in true sense. Every day and night Rafi Saab voice is echoing every nook and corner of the World. This honor is more than Bhart Ratna award to our dearest amar singer.

  5. Aftab says:

    I fail to understand that those incharge of awarding Bharat Ratan have to think & discuss , is Rafi sb a suitable candidate ?. If he is not the right choice then Tansen should also not be considered among the 9 gems of Akbar.
    If Rafi sb is not the choice then music has to be re-defined

    Please at the earliest award BHARAT RATAN to RAFI SB and do not insult the music anymore

  6. Hrushikesh says:

    Yes. Mohd. Rafi should be honoured with Bharatratna. Though he physically not exists he lives in heart of every Indian.

  7. There are several persons who have been awarded with Bharat Ratna. They all deserved Bharat Ratna but there are few who deserve this award but have not been awarded with it. Rafi Sahab tops the list of these few.

    If Bharat Ratna were not awarded to Rafi, the glory and sweetness of his songs would not diminish but if it is awarded to Rafi Sahab, the award would be more and more glorified.

  8. I would would like to support the efforts of all good people who want to see the Bharat Ratna bestowed upon the great artistes that India produced -Rafi Sahib and Ustad Allah Rakha Khansahib. It is accurate that the Family of Ustad Allah Rakha often took life saving medicines from London to Rafi Sahib in Mumbai. It is also true that many artistes in India were artistically and financially supported by the Allah Rakha Khan Family for many years. In concern with Rafi Sahib , he efforts were such that with the genre of music and singing he provoked universal interest in Indian music and was thereby able to inspire people to learn music .
    Rafi Sahib also was a spiritual and hugely charitable human being- and this is another truth about Indian music- that it also produces great humans who are the ambassadors of Indian art. The Bharat Ratna is indeed deserved by such artistes.

  9. P. Haldar says:

    Khurshid Aulia sahiba,

    We are fortunate that the daughter of such a famous tabla maestro has graced this site. I have had the good fortune of attending several concerts of your dad, the great Ustad Alla Rakha, mainly with Pandit Ravi Shankar. Apart from his ustadi on tabla, I remember his dignified and pleasant peronality. After reading your post, I also recalled the songs that your dad composed for Rafi saab.

    And what can one say about your brother? He is a total wizard. I’ve watched him perform with so many artistes — Pt. Ravi Shankar, Pt. Shivkumar Sharma, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt. V. G. Jog, Girija Devi… and also as part of the Shakti band. But the best I’ve seen was around 23 years ago accompanying Pt. Nikhil Banerjee on sitar. I’ll treasure that memory till the end of my life.

    Best wishes on behalf of all Rafians to you, your husband and the rest of your family.

    P. Haldar

  10. Mohammad Rafi sahib was a great friend of my late father ustad allaRakha from Lahore years. Actuall we carried with my husnd ayub aulia life saving medicine which his son saeed who was working for kuwait airways in london, gave us to deliver to rafi sahib in Mumbai. as soon as we landed my father immediately sent his driver with the medicine to bandra to hand over the drug. But alas it was not destined to be effective and we lost a great gem, ratna and jewel on 31st july, 1980.

    jeena kaafi mushkil hoga logoN ko mar jaate dekha
    Rafi sahib really needs bhat ratna award and so does my father Ustad allaRakha after death for their immense service to humanity and in the service of India music all over the world.
    Khurshid Aulia
    daughter of ustad allaRakha

  11. Ayub Aulia says:

    Yes! I do request Indian Government to award Mohammad Rafi sahib marhoom the higest National Award ” Bhart Ratna” posthumously. It’s very befitting and Rafi sahib deseves it.

    Ayub Aulia
    291 Seely Road, London.

  12. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Dear Rafians

    Rafi Saab is alive though not physically but his songs made him amar and he is living among us, in our memories. If The Govt. does not think of giving him BHARAT RATNA, it does not mean that his popularity graph will go down, no way, the true fans of Rafi Saab will always thinking him he is the Bharat Ratna in true sense. Every day and night Rafi Saab voice is echoing every nook and corner of the World. This honor is more than Bhart Ratna award to our dearest amar singer.

  13. Mohamed Rafi says:

    Rafi saab deserves it and we need to put in collective efforts to achieve this

  14. NISAR AHMED says:


  15. hi pmc ,bharat ratna is not the end of all awards. it will be given to the one who ding the autorites or given to the politician.millions of music lovers had and have been given rafi sab a sacred place to live. that is in their heart it self .which award is more valuable than that?doesnot bother whether it goes to sugram or,such undeserving personalities..

  16. pmc thangal says:

    dear rafi fans,do you believe that the govt of india bestowed this prestigious award to rafi saab? due to the play of dirty politics there is no possibility for this ,which govt may rule this country.even though rafi saab had sung so many devotioal songs irrespective of caste creed and religion by saying the need of relegious harmoney and of internatioal brother hood,the authorities will not pay any attention to this appeal.thanks to mr paswan(minister)for having tried to give barat ratna to rafi in 2008.but alas it does not clicked.the main reason is that rafi saab was a muslim. oh rafi lovers, do not wonder if this award goes to kishore kumar in this year itself.

  17. Gujraj says:

    Mohammad Rafi (Sahab) was and still is the greatest singer in the entire world. There won’t be another one like him. He is an institution. Most aspiring Indian singers get their inspiration from Rafi Sahab. Sonu Nigaam has reached stardom by copying and singing Rafi sahab’s songs. I think it’s time he stops making money out of Mohammad Rafi. Murga Karre Mehnat Annda Khaaye Fakirr.
    Now that Sonu Nigam has learnt enough from Mohammad Rafi he must leave this GENIUS alone. People have never forgotten Mohammad Rafi and they don’t need a Sonu Nigam to supposedly make them remember Rafi.
    I have read the above comments and I sincerely agree with them all and Mohammad Rafi deserves the Bharat Ratna awaed.

  18. bhumesh sharma says:

    26 Jan gone
    Bharat ratna undecided
    Is it the time for us to console ourselves
    probably yes and probably no
    Yes – because had the award been given to Rafi sahab, we would have been the happiest people of the world
    no – because;-
    we are the Rafi fans,Mohammed rafi, the great singer,who represents happiness and thankfulness,thankful for everything that god and his people(of god) gave him,he was extremely thankful,happy, and satisfied about the love and appreciation that this country gave him, he was absolutely proud of the greatness of this country and its people let us learn from him the art of “not complaining” and be proud of our fortune that we have lived in the era of Rafi sahab and we have also been able to give our immortal love and appreciation to the great singer.

  19. A S MURTY says:

    Now that the Government has finally left the Bharat Ratna undecided for the seventh year in a row, we must focus our energies to achieve the same for Rafi Sahab atleast next year. The need of the hour is not to lose precious time but the campaign must go on. All the time tested avenues must be explored afresh and the Government must be made ‘aware’ of the stark reality of the greatness of this one single individual who deserves this coveted award more than anyone else. The Rafi Foundation should put its act together and all those who can work for this most noble cause, need to keep the campaign as their cherished aim. Efforts made in right earnest will yield positive results although it may seem to take some time.

  20. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Rafi Saheb’s fans, please do not be disappointed, Insha Allah this year’s end it will be announced and Rafi Saheb will be hounered with a Bharat Ratna in the year 2009, Ameen.

  21. unknow says:

    as I said and say it again the Bharat Ratna award is for human and Mohd rafi is angel.Thanks to Gov’t because they know that this award is so small for Mohd rafi a man from 1950’s on the top still at the top and will be at the top that is a award of God to Mohd rafi as I think

  22. Hussein Sheikh says:

    Insha Allah, Rafi Saheb will be honoured with a Bharat Ratna in 2008, Ameen. Please do not be disappointed.

  23. santosh says:

    Dear Binuji.

    I can note the visible dissapiontment in you words.i too am dissapointed.

    Perhaps it is the will of GOD that the voice of GOD should go un-noticed.We should not be let down and carry on the work which you and all respecte people have been doing. COME ON BINUJI DO NOT BUCK DOWN.YOU AND ALL OF US KNOW THAT YOU HAVE TRIED YOUR BEST AND IT IS ENOUGH FOR US AND RAFISAAB UP ABOVE IN THE SKY.

    A time will come when justice will be done and ordinary singers like asha,sonu nigam, and kk and others will not be given the adulation they do not deserve.

    SO LET US ALL NOT BE DISSAPPOINTED SINCE MANY OTHER DESERVING PEOPLE HAVE ALSO BEEN NOT GIVEN THEIR DUE.Yesterday I was watching the movie BHAGAT SINGH AND I was moved by the scene when he intereacts with his mother before hanging.He became a martyr at a tender age of 23.Still today govt does not give him his due recognition.


    Rafi Saab is the best there was the best there will be.

    so binuji and all our rafi saab family do be dissappointed.

  24. Harvinder says:



  25. binus2000 says:

    post 57 : naveen zalpuri:

    yes. this time the bharat ratna is given a miss. we tried and
    not succeeded this time around.

    asha has got the p.v. and she will try to come near her sis for
    the b.r.
    they happen to be great “lobby-ists”. however, we have learnt
    “few” lessons and we will make a strong representation again.
    meanwhile, rafi lovers “must” write to the government about
    honouring mohd. rafi saab, i feel.

    binu nair….. the rafi foundation

  26. Naveen Zalpuri says:

    At this point looks like Govt may have given Bharat Ratna a miss .Padma Awards are already out. Still let’s hope and pray that Binuji’s sixth sense wish turns out to be true .On a related note Ashaji got PV this year. In a few years she may be on her way to catch with didi


  27. binus2000 says:

    a sixth sense tells me that rafi saheb will be given the
    coveted bharat ratna award – soonest and it could be
    this year only.

    else , we appeal to the govt. very strongly and also honour
    rafi saab the Vishva Ratna award – in the field of art and culture.

    binu nair… the rafi foundation…

  28. biman baruah says:

    i am a diehard fan of Rafi Saheb, since he is a genuine sparkler of our country not only as a playback singer, as a nice human being and true Gandhian. He truly deserves the country’s highest civilian award “Bharat Ratna”.

    I heartly hope, the Government of India agrees to this earnest appeal and announce him to be the Bharat Ratna awardee on the occasion of 26th January 2008, for which he is the only nominee from the field of Art and Culture this year.

    with best wishes
    biman baruah
    Sivasagar, Assam.

  29. Sameer Ahmad Khan says:

    I can’t describe how much I am in ove with the Mohd. Rafi songs.
    Every song sung by Mr. Mohd. Rafi is a soul touching. the inspiration I get from his songs is abslutely un-definable. I will always love him for his Magical Voice

  30. Joseph O.A says:

    The Govt. of India
    The Honourable President of India.

    Mohammed Rafi is the right candidate to be awarded with Bharat Ratna.
    His contribution through singing has no limit. His songs and voice have give solace peace and soul to millions of suffering people. It is difficult to fathom the depth of his contribution to humanity. His voice is that God, for the soul of india.
    Please give him this time Bharat Ratna. He deserved it. If Lata was given, Rafi Saab should have been given still earlier.

    Please respect the voiceless millions of millions of India who cries to this country to kindly award Mohd. Rafi with Bharat Ratna.

    Joseph ( Joy)

  31. Raju Korti says:

    point taken, mr ramaswamy. i have made peace with mr nareshji and we are friends now. there is no malice or misunderstanding. however, my only passionate plea is let’s do everything by confiding in each other. we all have our opinions and differences, but that’s perfectly fair in a democracy. if any one has felt offended with whatever i wrote, i beg to be excused. i am a very small man whose share in all the rafian endeavour is just that of a squirrel.

  32. Dear Rajuji, Nareshji, Binuji

    Pl. do not indulge in infighting as this will only spoil the principles of Rafi Sahab. Rafi sahab was a man of principles and we all are his followers. In fact, I am impressed or for that matter all are impressed by both the articles of Rajuji and Nareshji. I have already copied and pasted in my documensts.Both are excellent in their own way. In fact, Nareshji himself says, he has taken 1/3 of the ideas given by Rajuji and hence there is no question of argument. Our main aim is to get BR for our Guruji and see that it is achieved, though Rafi sahab himself was above all the awards. The award being the highest and unique (even though it has lost its sheen due to politicisation) and if our sahab’s name finds a place over there, it will be an inspiration to all future generations, no matter a baby in the womb is already inspired by Rafi Sahab’s voice. Hence, please for all Rafi Bhakths’ sake, forget your misunderstandings and continue to keep up the good work and provide more and more information by writing articles and anecdotes on the legend of legends Rafi Sahab to impart knowledge to future generations.

    Rafi Sahab Amar Rahein


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