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The relevance of Rafi Sahab in today’s complex world and life

By Achal Rangaswamy

The relevance of Rafi Sahab in today's complex world and life

It has been 37 years now that the legendary Mohd Rafi Sahab breathed his last and left us all grieving his departure and missing him. But show me a day or even half a day when you don’t hear someone talk about him, his life, his songs and the impact he left not only in the HFM domain but also on our lives.

A man born to humility and simplicity, the virtues he practiced till his last day, Rafi Sahab epitomized the character most people remember him as, a messenger of God. And each time he sang a song, or recorded one, he scored very high on this point.

The world and our lives, both, have become extremely complex, hard to comprehend, and almost mechanical and robotic in nature. Feelings have died and people are almost in a rush to win battles for material acquisition and earthly possessions, in a frenzy. Time is the biggest constraint for all, yet people squander away the same commodity with total abandon and insouciance.

Amidst all this din and chaos, the voice, the life story and the message of Rafi Sahab appears like a glimmer of that proverbial silver lining behind the grey clouds of an era which sees only violence, intolerance, spitefulness and discord.

From some of his earliest songs we draw solace and philosophical guidance that ought to keep us grounded, and living with a balance which the world so badly seeks and needs.

Yeh Zindagi ke Mele, duniya mein kam na honge sang Rafi Sahab, signifying that mortal beings shall go away while the world would continue to run, albeit with strangely different feelings and emotions. He also said in the song that world would undergo a series or reconstruction and decay both in turn but we shall not live to see all of this.

Rafi Sahab sang numerous songs for kids and each of his songs implored the youngsters to live an innocent and carefree life. His monumental Aaya Re Khilone Wala Khel Khilone Leke Aaya Re likened life to a game played with toys, where each toy would be an integral part of growing up and learning things in life. Songs like Chum Chum Karti Aayi Chidiya or even Chakke Pe Chakka urged kids to stay as kids and stay as excited and fun loving in the same way as they were born- to enjoy life.

The king of his songs for kids is my all- time favourite Main Gaaoon Tum So Jaao, which consoles and comforts kids and offers solace to them about life being like a tough, long day but sure to bring new waves and a change in our fortunes. His songs were songs of hope, songs of positive change and better times. I listen to this song every other day and find inspiration, comfort and peace. I think today’s younger generation needs doses of this philosophical song, often.

Rafi Sahab’s numerous songs of patriotism are also the need of the hour. We are going through major crises across our borders, and needless loss of important lives and the increased stress on the lives of our soldiers has been a huge cause of concern. I cannot think of a more relevant time when our people need to unite, work and live as one, and fight the enemy on the border, as well as the numerous enemies that have crept into the woodwork of our lives. To the youth of our nation Rafi Sahab left behind what I consider perhaps the most patriotic and timely message Ab Tumhaare Hawaale Watan Saathiyon. Ram bhi tum tumhi Lakshman Saathiyon is the simplest and most powerful message which means our moral structure and our social fabric needs realignment.

Songs of his dedicated to sisters, brothers, parents abound. Le Lo Le Lo duayein maa baap ki, songs like dekho dil na kisika toote on Rakshabandhan, bachchon tum taqdeer ho, all of them emphasise one of the biggest lacunae that exists in the fabric of our society, the tearing down and coming apart of familial love and relationship. Rafi Sahab exemplified this in his own life, living completely and unwaveringly in love with his family and with a very special corner in his heart for his children.

Religion today is being used to separate people rather than bring them together. And it is here that Rafi Sahab perhaps scored far more than any other public figure from the field of entertainment. His songs of unity make one realize how petty we have all become. Tu Hindu Banega Na Musalman banega, insaan ki aulad hai insaan banega is one song which perhaps needs to be told to each and every citizen daily.

A devout Muslim himself, a believer of humility and simplicity and given to charity, Rafi Sahab was perhaps the best purveyor of Hindu Bhajans in collaboration with the likes of Naushad Sahab and Shakeel Badayuni Sahab. Not once can a listener even in his wildest imagination say that religious and theosophical boundaries exist when it comes to Rafi Sahab’s songs of devotion. Whether recording a Christmas time song, a Krishna Bhajan or a qawwali to extol a Peer, Rafi Sahab sang with the same fervor, the same respect and the same humility.

Isn’t that the true sign of a messenger of God, a saint himself?

I can go on and on and write about a hundred songs of this legend, but I shall not tire of saying that the world today needs Rafi Sahab’s message and songs far more than the speeches of politicians, administrators or even religious leaders.

Who else could have meant it 100% when he sang MAIN KAB GAATA, MERE SWAR MEIN PYAAR KISIKA GAATA HAI.

I bow down to my Idol, the simple, humble and totally innocent man that walked the earth as a Saint, urging all to live together in peace and harmony.

Kabhi kabhi is duniya mein Yaaron
Aise farishtey bhi aate hain
Kisi ko apna sab kucchh dekar
Khaali haath chaley jaate hain
Jaise sukh ki chhaya deke
Badal jaaye bikhar pyaare bhai

Rafi Sahab left his bodily form 37 years ago. He now stays in our hearts reminding us to be just human.

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5 Blog Comments to “The relevance of Rafi Sahab in today’s complex world and life”

  1. n.g.ramaswamy says:

    Achalji as usual, superb. Simply consider the number of concerts in Rafi saheb’s name in different parts of the world beginning July 1st week lasting for a month & also in Dec. and Jan. Many auditoriums you may find back to back shows of this farishta on the same day itself. What else we need? Many up and coming Rafi Saheb singers thrive on these shows. A noble soul indeed. We are lucky to be born under his era. Keep up your good work.

  2. Habeeb Bacchus says:

    This legend left us a treasure trove of songs and music, both filmy and private,
    that will be “as fresh as the morning dew on the daisies” that generations to
    come will forever enjoy…and I do listen to the stalwarts..all those that have
    left us.

  3. Ahamed Kutty says:

    It is a fact some FM and TV channels try to sideline Rafi Saab
    but it is of no use since in almost all poll conducted by various
    agencies and TV channels Rafi Saab and his songs come on top
    which clearly shows the masses are with Rafi Saab only.It
    started with the selection of “The singer of the Millennium”,the
    Greatest Personlity after Mahatma Gandhi,The Best song of Hindi
    Film Music(baharom phool barsaao),The Greatest Voice of India

    I have already mentioned it in various times but I want to mention
    only one thing.It is in the poll to select the greatest after Gandhiji
    Rafi Saab was on 12th position and the singer who is being
    projected as number one by these channels came on the
    32th position.

    Long Live Rafi Saab…..

  4. Shekhar Bopardikar says:

    Many attempts are being made on various platforms such as FM Channels, TV shows etc. to hide this crowning jewel. But a real jewel will always shine in the heap of a coal mine. Regardless of any attempts, it is said that you cannot destroy a real diamond. Nowadays all these performing shows as “Voice of Rafi ” , “Rafi Resurrected” & “Rafi Revisited” & all that are like imitation jewellery. It’s a real pleasure to listen to the original songs & compositions by these immortal greats even today.
    Three things are essential for a song to be worthy of listening again and again and thus becoming timeless.
    1) Good Lyrics
    2) Good Composition
    3) Most important is great voice, of which Rafisaab was supreme and sorry to say that it is abysmally missing today.

  5. Gagan says:

    The heavenly voice-simply the greatest singer ever…miss Rafi Saab…the relevance of his songs keep on growing & increasing each year rather than diminishing…true legend of legends…well said & great article…

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