This article is written by Mr. Sivanandam
On 31st July 1980, legendary singer Mohammad Rafi left us, leaving behind thousands of immortal songs for us to cherish. Mohammad Rafi, or Rafi sahib as he is always addressed with respect, was not only a great singer, but also a great human being. His versatility was unmatched. He was a master in all types of songs -right from patriotic songs to songs with the sweetness of romance, from songs of utter despair or melancholy to light hearted comedy songs, bhajans, ghazals, quawwalis etcâ€¦.the list is endless.
Who can believe that the man who had sung â€œYe mehlon ye takhton ye tajon ki duniyaâ€ for the intense Guru Dutt had also sung â€œMain Jat yamla pagla diwanaâ€ for the macho Dharmendra or the man who sang â€œO duniya ke rakhwale â€ for a staid Bharat Bhushan also sang â€œ Chahe mujhe koi jungle kaheâ€ for the energetic Shammi Kapoor. Teaching a child â€œ Tu hindu banega na musalman banega, insaan ki aulad hai insaan banegaâ€ was as easy for him as romancing a lady with â€œTeri ankhon ke Siva duniya mein rakha kya hiaâ€ . With intensity he hits out at the society with â€œJinhe naaz hai Hind par who kahan haiâ€ for the protagonist Guru Dutt in Pyasa and sings a light-hearted â€œ Sar jo tera chakraye ya dil duba jaye â€ for the comedian Johnny Walker in the same film.
In spite of being a teetotaler he could sing as a â€˜sharabiâ€™ with perfection (mujhe duniya walon sharabi na samjho ), and in spite of being very shy (he rarely spoke or gave interviews) sung so many songs with a mischief (one should just listen to the variations in â€˜gustakhi maafâ€™ in the song chehere pe giri zulfen kah do to utha doon mein) . Be it bhajans (Man tarpat Hari darshan ko aaj, Sukh ke sab sathi dukh mein na koi), ghazals (mere mehboob tujhe meri mohabbat ki kasam, Na kisi ki ankh ka noor hoon) , and quawwalis ( Na to caravan ki talash hai, hai agar dushman zaman gam nahin) , his fervor in singing these distinct styles was unmatched.
In the cut-throat film world he shone like a beacon, helping the needy and not running after money, fame etc.
For millions of Indians, the day is not complete without listening to his songs. During happy moments or sad moments, his voice is always there to give comfort. Even if we have forgotten him (one Padma Shri award was the best we could give him!!) he wished us all good with â€œMeri kahani bhoolne wale tera jahan aabad raheâ€(even if you forget my story let your life be full of prosperity).