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A Journey through Rafi Jee’s Hometown

By: Sohail Butt. He is a ‘Rafi Bhagat’ of long standing and can be contacted at:

I am pleased to attach a copy of my article that I wrote in 2007 following my visit to Rafi Saheb’s house in Lahore and met his real brother Mohd Saddique and his nephew Mohd Ashfaq (Late Mohd Ibrahim’s son). I am also attaching some photos of a musical function in Lahore where Mohd Saddique sahab sang his late brother’s songs. The written article and photos can be related to each other.

Mohd Rafi with Hameed

Mohd Rafi with Hameed

Lahore ( founded by  prince Loh, son of Ram Chandra  in 1000BC)  has been described by  many during its long history   in so many different ways that it is extremely difficult to sum it all up in a word, sentence or even a book. However there are few sayings in Punjabi that I have heard and will like to quote them if I were to describe the city:

(1) ‘ Lohrre , Lohrre Aiye”  ( Lahore is Lahore).

(2)  “ Jinay Lohrre Nahin Waykhay, oh, nay kuj nahin waykhay” (If you have not seen   Lahore , you have not seen anything).

(3)   Nahin Reesan Shahar Lahore Deeyan ( The city of Lahore is incomparable and unmatchable).

The  Lahore of pre partition India was the richest nursery of talent in almost all fields of knowledge and performing art. Dev Anand in his recently launched book “Romancing with life “ says that Lahore was the most ‘fashionable’ city of undivided India. People used to take lot of pride in associating themselves with the city and in particular its educational institutions. Lahore being at center stage of culture & arts of North India and with a rich history  was best described as the place where people by birth or grooming or both  found the city’s multicultural and multi-ethnic environment extremely conducive for establishing their roots and enhancing their potential to the fullest.  There are many examples of such people related to all walks and trade of life in both India and Pakistan who attained legendary status in life.

Narrowing down the ‘Lahoris’  to the Indian Film industry who have been associated in one way or the other with this great city, I  remember quite a few names out of a long list:  Mohammad Rafi,  Nur Jehan, Chopra brothers –( BR & Yash  Raj), Pancholis,  Dev Anand,   Kamini Kaushal,  Surender Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Pran, A.R. Kardar, Geeta Bali, Shamshad Begum, Surriya, Zohra Sehgal,  Manorma, A.R. Kardar, Rajendra  Kumar, Kabir Bedi,  Manoj  Kumar etc and  Music Directors (Khayyam , O.P. Nayyar &  Feroze Nizami),  Ustad Barrey Ghulam Ali and many notable classical singers and musicians of various ‘Gharanas’  too had their roots in the city .

Mohammad Rafi,  the subject of this article was one such great contribution of Lahore to India and the rest of the world. There is hardly any living moment   on this earth when Rafi  Sahab’s voice is not being splashed through the airwaves and heard by some one, somewhere on this globe.  Mohammad  Rafi  sings every moment of ‘ to-day ‘and in all probability will continue doing so  for every ‘to-morrow’ to come.

Being a die hard fan of Rafi Sahab, I had always wanted to meet  him in person, but alas that wish remained unfulfilled due to his sudden passing away  on 31st July 1980.  However God almighty had planned a different route to partly fulfill my apparently ‘lost wish’ that seemingly looked impossible to be fulfilled otherwise. The almighty chose two different phases of satiating my desire.

First,  I was very lucky to have met Abdul Hameed (Rafi Sahab’s God brother, mentor and guru) through a common friend ‘Zaifee Hussain’ ( the die-hardest Rafi fan I have ever known) and then remained in the regular company of late Hameed Sahab in Toronto Canada for about two years till he  passed away in July 2001.

Abdul Hameed was the person who accompanied Rafi Sahab on his first journey from Lahore to Mumbai in early 1940’s  and played a key and defining role in first getting him trained in Lahore under various music directors ( Waheed  Khan , Chhotay Ghulam Ali  & Feroze Nizami), convincing Rafi Sahab’s parents to let him go to Mumbai  and then marketing his singing talent in the Mumbai Film World. Once settled , both Hameed Sahab and  Rafi Sahab married two sisters and became brother-in-laws. Career success was yet far away.

Hameed and Rafi Sahab in Poona, India

Hameed and Rafi Sahab in Poona, India

Hameed Sahab remained with Rafi Sahab in India probably till late 70’s and  then migrated to Toronto, Canada . He never returned to his native Lahore while Rafi Sahab did few times till 1962. Preceeding his death at the age of 85, I tried many times that Hameed Sahab agrees to visit his native Lahore that he left in early 1940’s but his reply always was that, all my closest family members including parents who were alive when he left have passed away during the 56 years of his absence from Lahore. To visit home with every one gone will be too much to bear.

Hameed Sahab died in July 2001 and is buried in Toronto, thousands of miles away from his parents in Lahore and a  brother like saint ‘Mohammad Rafi’ in Mumbai, for whom literally he dedicated his own life.

During Rafi Sahab’s visit to Toronto, Canada  in 1979 that proved to be his last one also, Hameed Sahab told Rafi Sahab in Punjabi , (being translated in English) the following and I

“ You started to sing on my persuasion and initiative. Now I ask you to stop singing altogether and shift to Canada where we could spend last few years of our life close to each other.. Rafi Sahab nodded in the affirmative  .  I will do as you suggest and will quit singing. “

Hameed and Rafi Sahab in Toronto, Canada

Hameed and Rafi Sahab in Toronto, Canada

Never did Hameed Sahab realize how prophetically Rafi Sahab was speaking at that time He indeed left everything including this world for his heavenly abode within few months thereafter”.  While narrating me this event,  Hameed Sahab had tear in his eyes. He said he never knew that asking him to stop singing mean’t that he will leave this world too!!! Perhaps for Rafi Sahab, keeping a promise and honoring a commitment   was more important than his life. Once he committed to stop singing mean’t the end of his life. A word that he kept till the very end and fulfilled a promise he made to his mentor and an ‘elder brother’.

The itch in me to have met Rafi Sahab never faded or left my system. It grew with passage of time in parallel with the growing recognition across the sub-continent of Rafi Sahab’s unmatchable voice and his exceptional qualities of playback singing that were not to be found in any other human being since his death.  The world simply could not find a replacement of him or any one close to his godly voice. Another Mohammad Rafi was no where, no more and perhaps would never be found.

I remember once attending a musical function in the memory of the late singer in Canada  when a  poet cum writer  went as far as saying and I  “ Rafi Sahab was a unique creation of God and  even if God once again tries to create another Mohammad Rafi , He cannot” . This is the ultimate compliment that can be given to a human being though such statements   cross the red lines of religious beliefs and Allah’s greatness. I should be pardoned for this sin of quoting an otherwise ‘unholy’ statement.

The second phase started with my regular surfing of internet websites about Rafi Sahab. This brought another revelation to me. Rafi Sahab’s youngest brother ‘Mohammad Saddique’ is still alive and lives in his old ancestral home in Lahore. This information was provided by two extremely friendly and cooperative ‘Rafians’  Mr. Ghulam Mujtaba and his nephew Mr. Adeel, both residents of Lahore and who were also involved with  the Lahore Chapter of ‘Rafi Foundation’ along with another very famous fan of  Rafi Jee  Col (Retd) Saeed Khan, Pakistan’s ex-Olympic Hockey Player and a star by himself in the field of sports .

Locating the ‘real brother ‘ of Rafi Sahab  was indeed a great discovery for me and very exciting one. I decided to visit my own home town Lahore as soon as possible to meet the gentlemen mentioned in the previous para and through their efforts meet the real brother ‘Mohammad Saddique’ and other close relatives of  Rafi Sahab.

The moment that I was so keenly waiting for finally arrived barely 36 hours of my landing in Lahore. I warmly embraced Saddique sahib at the entrance of a small auditorium of National University of Modern Languages (NUML) at Lahore where Saddique  Sahab had come as a chief guest to participate in a small musical tribute to Rafi Sahab arranged by the Principal of the college Colonel (Retd). Saeed Khan ( Also an enthusiastic Rafian, former Pakistan Hockey Olympian) under the banner of RAFI FOUNDATION..

I found Saddique Sahab very warm, affectionate and friendly on my very first encounter. It felt a lot of humility, warmth, simplicity and, genuineness in him. This was perhaps  a family trait for which Rafi Sahab too was uniquely remembered. The saying that Rafi Sahab was a Saint who sang in God’s voice was quite so true.

The evening choosen for paying Tribute to Mohammad Rafi happened to be 12th Rabbi-ul-Awwal’ (21st March) the day our prophet ‘Mohammad (PBUH)’ was born and was a public holiday in Lahore. Nevertheless the musical tribute did take place. Mr. Saeed Khan and  his son Bilal sang wonderfully well some of Rafi Sahab’s popular songs. Later on I also sang few songs and ghazals and felt very proud to be singing in front of the real brother of ‘Rafi Sahab’.

The treat of the evening was yet to come. Saddique Sahab in the end took over the harmonium and sang some of the favorite and difficult songs despite the old age factor  He started with Maduhuban Mera Dika Nachey Raye in his soft, low tone, husky and melodious voice .and ended with ‘Jane Bahar Husn Tera, in Raag Malkous.  I felt that I have eventually heard ‘Rafi Sahab’ sing in person. My wish to meet him and listen to him  seem partly fulfilled. No one could  have fulfilled my wish  better than this, in  any other way. God almighty did this for me.  I thank ‘Allah’ almighty.

Mohammad Siddiq at the musical function in Lahore

Mohammad Siddiq at the musical function in Lahore

The musical session concluded at midnight and here I must praise the commitment to music and Rafi lovers by Saddique Sahab who stayed with us till the very end despite his old age. We parted with a commitment that we shall meet each other in the next few days prior to my departure for Kuwait for an informal chat that can be communicated to the Rafi Lovers around the World.

Mohammad Siddiq at the musical function in Lahore

Mohammad Siddiq at the musical function in Lahore

Mohammad Siddiq at the musical function in Lahore

Mohammad Siddiq at the musical function in Lahore

On Thursday March 27 Mr. Mujtaba and Mr. Saeed  were able to arrange as well as accompany me on  long desired meeting with Saddique Sahab at his and Rafi Jee’s family home in Bilal Ganj (Behind the Mouselum of Hazrat Data Gaj Buksh the famous 12th century Muslim Saint which was once a regular place of visit by Rafi Sahab also) . We arrived after driving through narrow streets and alleys of Bilal Ganj. The crowded area where driving during the day time was virtually impossible but was expertly managed  by my cousin Ismail Butt who kindly provided  logistical services  during my Lahore Yatra specially the ones I undertook for Rafi Sahab’s lovers across the world.

On our arrival at about 3PM in the afternoon we found Saddique Sahab waiting for us in his room on the ground floor of a  building that saw our beloved Rafi Jee through his child hood. We walked on the same street where Rafi Jees footsteps once rolled and spread the particles of gold dust that spread and converted into the voice of ‘God’ and thus became ‘immortal’ . We were in the same house where Rafi Jee  climbed and walked down the staircase many times during a day and where his golden voice echoed many times day or night.

I looked at the surrounding walls of the house  many times while I was there, visualizing that a young Mohammad Rafi in his teens would come down from some place of his house, humming and singing and getting out of the house into the street  into the waiting arms of his teenage friends. I touched Saddique Sahab ‘s hands and hugged him many times too, to feel that Mohammad Rafi not only lives in our hearts, but we can feel him too!!!!!!!

Mohd Saddique & Sohail Butt at the musical function in Lahore

Mohd Saddique & Sohail Butt at the musical function in Lahore

Musical function in Lahore

Musical function in Lahore

I admiredly watched Saddique sahib whose primary concern on our arrival seemed  how best and how soon to entertain us. A typical Lahori ‘host’ who would do about anything to feed his guests with the best snacks, food, drinks that can be made available. Saeed sahib and Mujtaba Sahab being his regular visitors successfully restrained him and we finally succeeded in getting into a conversation mode.

I  briefly summarize the main points of  conversation with Saddique Sahab with myself, Mr. Saeed Khan and Mr. Mujtaba for the amusement of the readers. My younger cousin Ismail who drove us through the narrow and crowded lanes of ‘Bilal Ganj’ also took the responsibility of  making a video while we informally conversed. This video is an invaluable record of a memorable and unforgettable conversation with someone who shares not only ‘blood and flesh’ but child hood memories, time spent together on various visits to Mumbai, his presence during the creation, composition and recording of scores of Rafi Sahabs famous songs that we all listen so fondly and so often.

  1. Rafi Sahabs singing  talent was discovered during his child hood. A ‘Faqir’ who used to pass by usually sang  while walking thru the street and the young Rafi would reproduce the same with no difficulty. “Khaidan Dey Din Chaar” (Days of Play and Fun are Four)  was one such melodious verse that young Rafi reproduced in front of the fakir prompting him to praise the young boy with lots of prayers for his success. The fakir prophetically declared that the boy will create a big name for himself in the field of music in the days to come.
  2. The first Ustaad was Chootay Ghulam Ali. Later  Ustaad  Feroze  Nizami and Ustaad Whaeed Khan sahib also contributed in training the legend.
  3. Saddique Sahab reminisced the day when  Rafi Sahab departed along with Hameed Sahab for Mumbai by train. Almost all close friends and  relatives accompanied them to Lahore Railway station to see them off. He was sent off with lots of prayers and good wishes.
  4. Rafi Sahab’s father ‘Haji Ali Mohammad’ instructed his son at the time of departing that since he is venturing on this great journey, coming back to Lahore without achieving success and his ultimate goal  is not an option. Effectively he was instructing him to take a ‘one way ticket’.He said he was willing to forget that he had  a son named Rafi in case his journey to Mumbai does not yield the desired results.
  5. Rafi sahabs love for his family back in Pakistan was very deep, caring and never ending. He never lost an opportunity of seeing his brothers and parents whenever and wherever he could.
  6. Rafi Sahab was the true face of  love, peace, inter-religious harmony based on  Gandhian philosophy, Secularism and  Indian Nationalism. Despite the fact that he belonged to Lahore and all his immediate family lived in Lahore, he remained an Indian citizen by choice till death. His burial in Mumbai India proved his eternal and everlasting love with the soil that immortalized him for ever. Rafi Sahab’s parents are buried in Miani sahib grave yard in Lahore that he visited last in 1962.
  7. Saddique Sahab narrated many events of his visits to Mumbai to meet his brother particularly the ones that happened around the recording of various songs during which he used to be present.

Later Saddique Sahab took us to a special room where few original portraits of himself ,  Rafi Sahab and their father Haji Ali Mohammad were hanging. The best I could do was to video film those hanging portraits.

Subsequently we visited late. Mohammad Ibrahim’s house (Rafi Sahab’s elder brother) in the street nearby. It was a pleasure meeting Rafi Sahab’s look alike nephew ‘Mohammad Ashfaq’, who too narrated some events of his family’s interaction with the legend. He proudly showed us many family photographs that included Rafi Sahib.

Returning from this memorable visit and driving through the evening rush hour of the crowded narrow lanes of the older part of Lahore,  I was looking at the surrounding buildings with envy who had seen young Rafi pass by many times. Everything probably stood as it was in the early 1940’s but Rafi Sahab was no where, not any where in this world. But for sure his golden voice will live on for ever, he too will live in the hearts and minds of people for all times to come.

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52 Blog Comments to “A Journey through Rafi Jee’s Hometown”

  1. Zain Zaidi says:

    Dear Sohail Sahib,

    That is a wonderful piece of article you have beautifully written to give us insight into M Rafi’s life. I just came to know of M Rafi’s alive brother Mr. Siddiq through a blog somewhere on the net, and was desperately searching on google to get an authentic info about him. Fortunately, I was directed to this page and it has truly provided a useful information about the legend’s family background.

    I would appreciate if you plz post on this forum more antique pictures or interview videos that were taken at Siddiq & Ibrahim Sahib’s place while you visited Lahore.

    Lastly, you are quite right. Music has no boundaries and these are just man made artificial lines. Indians and Pakistanis have immense love for each other and its just politics which tear us apart.

    May God Bless U.

    Zain Zaidi (Karachi)

  2. rajiv jardosh says:

    i am a very bigfan of m.rafi from 1979 i was in bandra and was waiting outside his big mansion that i might get a glimse of m.rafi but no luck but rafi is in my heart for ever

  3. Bhai, Tellicherry says:

    well said. Great job.
    Rafi Sahib ‘hua tumsa koyi pehale, na koyi doosra hoga’
    Thank you.

  4. Deepak says: ji unke liye to jitna kaha jaye vo hi kam hai vo hume vo de gaye hai jo koi nahi de sakta me rafi ji ka bahut kayal hu unke lagbhag sabi gane mene sune hai us time me 15 saal ka hunga jab rafi ke gaane sunne laga tha,jab ye dil udash hota hai jaane koun aas pas hota hai,

  5. Heard Mr Mohd Saddique Saab last night on Kismet Radio, London, talking about his older brother Mohd Rafi Saab. I found his ‘saga telling’ enthralling and did not dare move from my chair for full three hours. Today I saw your website on Mohd Rafi Saab and ‘proclaim’ that this befitting article written in 2007 by you is a great tribute to the Indian Miestro.

  6. Mohd shafiq says:

    A.O.A SOHAIL BUTT SB. sir my mother,s father named Mohd shareef was live in qila gujar singh.My nana and rafi sahab was best freinds.I want to share some beautiful memories of rafi sahab with u.So pls give your cell number for detail talk.

  7. K.P.Hassan says:

    dear sohailji,
    I am a fan of mohd rafi saheb and hearing his songs from my childhood. I was eager to meet rafi saheb in person or attend his live concert anywhere but unfortunately, i could not fulfil that dreams. besides, i was also eager to know about rafi saheb, his childhood, family, career etc. from the above article, i could know so much about rafi saheb.
    thank you very much for giving us a nice article about rafi saheb.

  8. Onika Setia says:

    very great job and nice aricle.

  9. Aurangzeb Alamgir Pro. Dr says:

    Sohail Butt sb. Thanks for providing info regarding Rafi sb. his brother and his lovers col.Saeed. Rafi sahib was a great human being and the greatest singer of the sub continent of the last century.God may bless his soul and he may rest in peace for providing pleasure and happiness to his lovers and those who love music.His golden immortal voice will remain a source of great inspiration.I WOULD REQUEST IMRAN SB.TO FOLLOW THE PREACHING OF HAZRAT MOHHAD (PEACE BE UPON HIM) AND IQBAL “MERA PEGHAM MOHABAT HAY JAHAN TAK POHNCHY.

  10. ABID SUHAIL says:


  11. Sohail Butt says:

    Thanks Anil. Just as you have roots in Pakistan, mine are in India. My father belongs to and was born in Amritsar and I was born in Lahore. This is the peculiarity of Pakistanis and Indians.

    Rafi Saheb too had roots on both sides of the border. Though originally his family hailed from Amritsar but all of them migrated to Lahore long before partition, in the early 20’s .

    Rafi Saheb is immensely popular in Pakistan as he is India and therefore for Rafi lovers there is a lot of common ground and borders are merely artificial lines drawn on a Land that was once ONE.

  12. Anil Gulati says:

    Sohail Sahab,
    You have done a great job by giving insights about the life of this legend. My dad was born in Bannu and Me in Delhi and both of us love Rafi Sahab’s singing. And i think the love for his art is more realistic and important than the boundaries which cannot divide rafi sahabs fans on either side of the border.
    loving your country is not wrong but Niether Allah nor God of any religion has created this division, it is only we the people/leaders.Sir, keep writing about rafi Sahab and we shall be listening to his songs. May God Bless all indians, pakistanis and rest of the world.
    Best regards

  13. Sohail Butt says:

    Thanks Krishanand Jee. When it comes from the heart for the people who are already full of Rafi Saheb’s love, the job of the writer becomes easier.

    I wish I could write a lot more about him and his family on this side of the border in Lahore Pakistan. I hope you read all the comments as well ignoring the ones that have been written out of context.
    Best regards,

  14. Krishnanand says:

    Whoever reads this write up on your trip to Lahore ends up reaching another level of absolute satisfaction. Thanks Mr. Sohail Butt for this gem of a piece!

  15. mehboob says:

    please refrain from bringing caste, creed, race, nationalism or any other form of politics into the debate. Rafi sahab was above all this.

  16. Ali says:

    As human we have no choice where to born so why we fight for thing we have no choice in it!! To be Indian or Pakistan not choiced by you but u borned by god or what ever the name you want say .
    Jest enjoy mohd rafi voice

  17. Imran says:

    Sohail Butt,

    I don’t need a lecture from your kind so keep it to yourself!.You’re unable to deny ancient history that Pakistan was only a part of BRITISH India for a very short period hat itself was hundred’s of islands until the Moghul’s conquered it which is why so many want liberation from India today where insurgency is everywhere.

    All Westerners look similar and have an identical culture like Europe and the USA…the Britishers once ruled that part of the world too yet both insist on being seperate entities!.Too ignorant Indian’s the entire world was once part of Akhand Bharat only that it never existed in reality.

    Speak for yourself that there is an Indian in every Pakistani when we have fought wars with them, emotional blackmail only satisfies complete fools!.I have nothing against the peaceful Indian people however people like you should do some research before commenting on public forums.

    All this by no means undermines Mohd Rafi being a world class performer in all sorts of Music, Allah rest his soul.

  18. Sohail Butt says:

    This forum is dedicated to the late Mohd Rafi who had roots in both India and Pakistan. Kindly refrain from showing your immature nationalistic thoughts on this otherwise noble and peaceloving forum of Indian and Pakistani music lovers.

    Be a courageous realist. Pakistan has been carved out of India. The parents and grandparents of many Pakistanis were Indians by birth and likewise the ancestors of many Indians were Pakistanis by birth. There is a little Indian in every Pakistani and a little Pakistani in every Indian as some politician aptly described the nature of our mutual relations. I sincerely hope that you will understand this. I am a very proud Pakistani and that does not mean that I should not like my Indian cousins across the border.
    Sohail Butt

  19. Imran says:


    Pakistan and India were only one during the Moghul period followed by the British Raj!.Originally India was just a small nation where as Pakistan was part of the Afghan empire so please do some research!.Just because the name India existed before Pakistan doesn’t make us inferior or you eternal in any way whatsoever when the land of the Indus valleys is amongst the most ancient!.

    Many foolish Indians even insist for Srilanka,Bangladesh and Afghanistan to be part of Bharat,your claims are laughable!.Obviously you don’t understand the meaning of evolution!

    I too can make a million points but for now let me equally insist that India is an integral part of Pakistan!.

  20. mohamedparvez says:

    asalamu alaikum sohail butt saab,thanx for sharing nice article, iwould like to share about a documentry on rafi saab ,produced by films division,i have uploaded in you tube,in 8 parts,also i have uploded rafi saab’s interview and rare songs,also i would like to inform about blog dedicated to rafi saab,total over 300 pages are there,to go to next page,kindly click older posts you will find bottom of every page,kindly visit this links,take care,allah khafiz


    mohamed parvez

  21. BINU NAIR says:



    SO WE AGREE ON THESE FACTS about the last three days of mohd rafi saab. the same is also mentioned in the book written by eminent film historian mr manek premchand.


    binu nair, rafi foundation, mumbai cell 91 + 9833 250 701

  22. vitthal says:

    Mr. Imran – 18

    Pakistan was a part of india, have you forgotten ? Wherefrom you have come – from India. If we want, we can put many points, but are least interested. Please note that this is a forum dedicated to true music and great indian legend mohd rafi who was a truly secular personality and to discuss about him, people like you should have a “sense” of music to write in mohd rafi forum, please note.

  23. Chandra Sekhar Mani says:

    Post 25, Binuji, it would be interesting to know whether the Maa Kali song was ever recorded in any other singer’s voice. We would at least have the consolation of imagining how Rafi Saab would have rendered the song. For people like us, time has come to a standstill. We only hear songs of our Master

  24. Priya Sanyal says:

    Binuji, what I called research was what I asked few film personality personally about Rafi sahab`s last day.
    As the song Sham phir Udas hai, was not the complete song hence, all misunderstandings came.
    Two Mega film person I fortunately met whom I asked same question about eight years ago both were present in london on a charity show.
    Lata ji told that Rafi sahab recorded his last song with her while Dharamendra ji told the aas paas song was the last one that Rafi saab recorded on his last day.
    Reading u I can make out Dharmji may not be technically correct while we should trust more Pyarelalji on this regard!

    So, Maa Kali song evidently happens to be last song for which the Master singer worked on!

    What a person rafi sahab was,His last film song clearly shows the vibe of last day saying,”tu kahin aas paas hai dost”. Above article inwhich Rafi sahab confirmed his brother that he won`t sing more.
    . He worked on maa Kali song on last day and died in the month of Holy Ramadan and Funeral happened on the day of Jumma attended by record tribute!
    what else can we say, does any award define such a such like the Rafi,
    truly blessed preson and divine voice!

  25. BINU NAIR says:


    by the way, the manager of rafi saab who played the biggest part in rafi s carreer is also hamid bhai.
    hamid bhai is the friend of mohd rafi’s elder brother . kindly confirm this.


    mr imran : post : 18.. u are incapable of understanding music and humanity. mohd rafi “solidly” stood for brotherhood of all peoples and respect for nations and patriotism. that’s why millions adore mohd rafi around the world.

    millions will hate you for your state of mind and your write up…
    no thanks…. always…

  26. BINU NAIR says:

    POST 22 PRIYA JI..

    I MET PYARELAL JI… AND THIS IS what he told me. i consider it as from the horses mouth.

    there was to be some urgent shooting of a scene for “aas paas” which required the opening lines of the song “shaam fir kyon udaas hai dost ” to be recorded and then filmed.

    Laxmikant ji called up mohd rafi saab. rafi saab was busy that morning. but on laxmikants request, rafi saab came over to memboob studios, recorded the few lines “mukdea” and left promising to come back after two days to record the full song.
    while leaving rafi saab reportedly told l and p : “acha mai chaloo” and then “acha mai chalta hoon”. this was “one” last walk of rafi saab – from a recording studio to his home. this was on july 28th.

    two days later rafi saab had high temprature, but a rehearsal for the durga puja song on maa kaali was arranged.
    the fatigue was visible and rafi saab told his wife bilquis : this time i will record the song and next year i would “not” record the song.
    when mrs bilquis told rafi saab to cancel the recording , rafi saab said : “they are coming from calcutta. they should not return empty handed from the rafi household”.
    although not well, rafi saab did the rehearsal but his condition was worsening. doctors were called. it was a little late. mohd rafi was rushed to national hosp now hinduja hospital. from there he was rushed to bombay hospital. during this journey his condition worsened and had some more attacks. at around 10.35 or so, mohd rafi went to the another world. on aug first, bombay witnessed its biggest procession to mourn a great singer and a greater person.
    postscript : mohd rafi was born on dec24, 1924 on a wednesday, morning 3.30 am…

  27. Hari Agrawal says:

    I am one of those average persons who had the good fortune of seeing him and shaking hands with him back in 1970s in a cultural show in a school auditorium in New York. He was there with his wife. I was struck with his down-to-earth simplistic, unpretentious, friendly smile and personality. The moment is captured in my memory and I would never let go till the day I die.

  28. Priya Sanyal says:

    yesudas(who felt pride in being called son by Rafi sahab on Rafi sahab,

    “Mohammed Rafi is my guru and one of my most important idols”

  29. Priya Sanyal says:

    Dear Rafi Bhakta and very affectionate Sanjeev Dixit ji with lots of repect,care and prayers , Namaste!

    Last day of Rafi sahab`s life, there r few obscured fact among Rafians.

    I sent a request to update wikipedia page after varification of when did Rafi sahab recorded aas paas!….as so many news article tells it was 2 days earlier ,some tells its last day.

    What I could make out after some transparent research for years!
    Well, Rafi sahab is known to record “Kali ashtakam” last day, whose other details I don`t have as it was not a studio recording!.

    The Last song of Rafi sahab was recorded two days before his death, but the song is not “shaam fir udash hai dost” but it was a duet with Lataji in the movie AAS paas, plz listen it.

    Now, the song sham phir kyun udash a hai dost”……… rehearshal version whose original version remained as dream of composer from on the evening of his death, Rafi sahab recorded the song, as Riyaz………..and after his death this song was taken as it is………..

    So when we talk technically the last song recorded was the duet ,two days ago but if we see from today then after that duet Rafi sahab did rehearshal version of many songs in 2 days but last one was Sham fir kyun udash hai dost, in which we see very clearly that Rafi sahab could feel that its his last day in physical body!

    As this rehearshal version is taken in film too so, we can say his last song happens to be sham fir udash hai on last day.
    Now one more fact how misunderstanding started as the media that time was paper based. In hindi it was told, ” sham me Rafi saab recording kiye`n aur dusre din unka funeral”..the “dusre din” was not translated as next day but as second day.
    Now every one again misread second day as two days , now day become all the confusion!

    “Any comments dear friends, on my research, here”………!

  30. Sohail Butt says:

    Dear Jagmohan Jee and Other ‘Rafian’s,

    Rafi Saheb’s association with Zeenat Begum in terms of his first recorded song of the film ‘Gul Baloch’ in Lahore is a well recorded fact that Rafi Saheb himself acknowledged in his interview (Available on Utube). Regarding Ashraf Ali Saheb, he may have been involved in the introduction of Rafi Saheb to Zeenat begum. It is also true that ‘Kotla Sultan Singh’ near Amritsar was the family village of Rafi Saheb’s ancestors. However I deliberately avoided talking about the real birthplace of Rafi Saheb to avoid a controversy that at one time even plagued relations between India and Pakistan. As per late Hameed Saheb , he submitted an affidavit for himself and Rafi Saheb that their birth place is Amritsar to avoid being deported back to Pakistan due to riots taking place in Mumbai immediately after the partition. However Hameed Saheb confided to me that the actual birth place of both him and Rafi Saheb is Lahore. This fact was reconfirmed by Saddique saheb also. The family migrated from Kotla Sultan Singh near Amritsar to Lahore before Rafi Saheb’s birth in 1924. Whatever is true, imagine IF Rafi Saheb and Hameed Saheb both had left Mumbai immediately after partition for Lahore in 1947, the TRUE talent of Rafi saheb probably would never have been discovered and the World of Music would have been deprived of the greatest play back singer known to mankind. God almighty had choosen India and Rafi saheb together for the glory and it was destined to be like that and this is important, not the accident of birth!!!
    Best Regards,
    Sohail Butt

  31. Jagmohan Singh says:

    Dear sohail, sat sri akal.
    As long as i was reading your narration ” A journey through Rafi ji ‘s home town” there were tears in my eyes all the way.You have given so precious knowledge about the immediate family of Mohd. rafi.I am feeling like this that as i have come close to Mohd.rafi himself.He was agreat music legend unparelall to any one on the earth. He was a great human being God fearing and humble personality. He accepted the proposal of A Hameed to quit singing shows his utter generousity and submission towards his carrier maker.He was above humanity.Sohail ji I want to draw your attention towards one thing that you have not mentioned the birth place of Mohd.Rafi i,eKotla Sultanpur in Distt. Amritsar Punjab.Niether you have mentioned the person Mr.Ashraf Ali who took Rafi to Zeenath Begham for his fist voice test.You have also not written about his first Punjabi song Heeriye ni sohniye ni teri yaad ne bahut sataya.Please accept my compliments for the great information you have given about the Great music Maestro Mohammed Rafi.Your meeting with Mohd.Sadiq Sahib has given the feeling as like meeting Mohd.Rafi.Please convey my Respects to the great Mohd.Sadiq ji.

  32. Dear Nazir bhai,
    Your comments were most disheartning. They are most parochial and instigating. But we Rafi sahab lovers will not fall prey to that and start defending ourselves.
    This musical forum is a bridge to forge friendship and camaraderie between Rafi Sahab lovers and it has successfully done it over the years.
    To air your abovesaid views, there are plenty of political sites available who will welcome you with open arms. Please dont vitiate a sacred ambience with irrelevant campaign.

    With regards to Rafi Sahab lovers
    Shirish Kulkarni

  33. Imran says:

    Another one from the subcontinent that has it’s roots in Pak watan!.Where is i lookupon all Indian’s as enemies of my Pak and would never accept their friendship Rafi still your was no doubt a gift to Music,his parents were PAKISTANI.

    You’re also correct about Lahore that it’s the heart of Moghul culture that has to be experienced and not seen.Peshawar is another place that has produced more legends than any other city of the subcontinent so rightfully you Indian’s are envious of us!.Altogether now…Pakistan zindabad…Watan-e-Aziz paindabad!

    Imran Kohistani.

  34. sohailb says:

    Dear fellow ‘ Rafians’ , I thank each one of you for your words of appreciation. When something comes from the heart, it appeals. Rafi Sahab has through his golden voice and a saintly nature inspired many in this world. I am one of millions of his fans and I am happy to share what I knew with all of you. I knew what it will mean to you.

    On a different note I was shocked to learn that Rafi Sahab’s last resting place in Mumbai will soon be levelled to the ground along with graves of other very adorable film personalities. We are depriving the future generations from landmarks that will not only inspire them but also illuminate their lives. Please do whatever you can to stop this avoidable action which is unreasonable, illogical and cruel. Nations preserve the last resting places of their heroes for all times to come. Please through your joint efforts and before it is too late make sure that ‘Rafi Saheb’s’ last resting place remains visible to us and future generations. “The Taj Mahal of a musical legend should not be raised to the ground”.
    Sohail Butt

  35. Sohilsaab,

    Kya jawab hai sirji. Very nice to hear this things. thanks for it. We just came to know indeed this 2 brothers were made for each other till the last i.e Toranto they last met. That would be the last photograph of got together before Rafisahab left us.

  36. Rajkumar Akela says:

    Plz vote for our beloved Rafi Sahab and glorify India.

    Rajkumar Akela

  37. Sanjeev Dixit says:

    Ref. post 12
    Resp. Priya didi,
    I also heared somewhere that Rafi Sahab was recorded few MAA KAALI bhajans in the morning of 31/07/1980 at his HOME only because he was not feeling well on that day, on the very humble request of the composers and on the same day he died in the night.I am not very sure about the date of the recording.
    Didi, lot of thanks for sharing a very rare incident in detail with us.your post is too much emotional at the last.I can feel the emotions of that friends who bursted in tears like a child in middle of crowd.
    -Sanjeev Kumar Dixit

  38. Priya Sanyal says:

    “tune mujhe bulaya sherawaliye(asha)released in 1980,itself…

  39. Priya Sanyal says:

    in Rafi sahab`s last days(year 1980,the year of his death), a bengali composers wanted to record few songs on Goddess kali with him,after listening his songs in the film Bhakti mein shakti
    for maa(divine mother,goddes durga)” jag tere charno me aaya” and “maa tere darbar jhuke sara sansar,”,released in 1978….
    A friend told me that rafi saab studied not only over how do they sing songs of kali but also the meaning of her existence or other qualities of goddess so that he could give perfect emotion to the song.
    Such was his dedication for any project but especially while singing Bhajans,guruvani or naat sharif,Rafi saab always reached the studio hours earlier to do prayers to Allah(in recording studio), to give him strength to do justice on prayers songs. And everyone is witness here that Rafi sahab`s bhajans are so much soulful that…………..
    The friend, asked Rafi sahab after few days that should they send some recordings,books on the goddess but he told that he don`t feel that it would happen,that he feel maa, goddess don`t want…But asked them not to tell this to the composer,that moment, who so affectionatly want him to sing…
    The friend,who requested me not to take his name here, got hurt thinking that like other singers rafi saab is also ignoring them.But the friend was in market where he heard this sad news of rafi saab`s death and he bursted in tears like a child in middle of crowd remembring that hardly a week ago ,he talked with rafi sahab.He once again started crying in front of me,confessing that he felt so bad in his heart for rafi sahab but they never knew that when rafi sahab say no even in hint,it means God has called him…
    The same year he died, and that too in the month of Ramadan,most famous bhajan of India released in rafi sahab voice on goddess durga, it was ,

    “tune mujhe bulaya sherawaliye, mian aaya,main ayyaa….”

  40. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Nasreen Sahiba
    I welcome your comment to my post, I really forgot that some people love Rafi Sahab more than me and they express their love in their own way. But I read some times that whenever Rafi Sahab sings somebody praise him, he instantly show his figure up and and tells that It is not my greatness, but it is grace of God. He was such simple, God-fearing person. He was always humble and down to the earth. Whan I came across certain comments which were beyond the praise I felt and requested the writers to slow down in their emotions.
    If I hurt unknowingly to any Rafi Bhakt, I feel really sorry. It is my love and respect towards Rafi Sahab that makes me to react immediately.

  41. Sanjeev Dixit says:

    Ref. post no.-5
    H.A.K. Walijah saab, In reply of your comment i wants to remember a song of RAFI SAHAB-

    Do you not agree that your FATHER/MOTHER is above than GOD OR like a GOD while they are only a human being?
    ofcourse you will say yes because on this earth parents are like a GOD for every person and they shows the correct path to their children in life, they tell the correct meaning of life to their children, they also tell what is wrong & what is right to their children.
    Therefore sir, In the same way the songs of RAFI SAHAB played a very important role in my life, you are able to read my comment on this forum only because of RAFI SAHAB’S SONGS.Only i & other RAFI BHAKTS can feel what is the important of RAFI SAHAB in my/their life.What is i am today is only because of SONGS OF RAFI SAHAB.He played a role in my life as a GUIDE just like a father and given me the LOVE just like a mother through is soft & immortal golden voice.His great character and humility is IDEAL for me and i am always tries to follow him. So he is a GOD for me and my whole life will dedicate in worship of MOHAMMAD RAFI SAHAB.
    In our country many people worships the STONES then why we can not worships our beloved RFI SAHAB as a great human being.
    Who is GOD? why we assuming that GOD is somebody else & different than us.Every person who develops the all the good properties of human being up to the extreme……. he will be just like the GOD. RAFI SAHAB was filled by all the great virtues of HUMILITY. Therefore he is a GOD for us and his songs and his life(Art of living) always guides us in future.
    Thanks & sorry for any mistake,

  42. Priya Sanyal says:

    One of the most nostalgic article I`ve ever read!

    Too much feelings in it but the last part is what I felt most emotional with was Rafi sahab`s prophetic nod over consenting his elder brothers demand!

    Yes, Rafi sahab had been one with singing itself…leaving singing is leaving this existence to him……..sometimes we don`t understand such a simple quest!!!

    Simply divine…..and also, I would like to answer that otherwise “Unholy” statement, actually why God can`t make another rafi is because the Rafi sahab that God has already made, was made with so much love by God that Rafi sahab was not treated as other mortal is treated,,rather God made Rafi sahab immortal to us with all the divinity…and everyone who listen rafi sahab with heart can with this voice of God.

  43. Nasreen says:

    To Post No. 5

    Please refrain from making hurtful comments like ‘utterly disgusting’ and instructing fans to give ‘healthy praise’. You cannot change the way millions feel about Rafi Saab. God Almighty created some people (very few indeed) who cannot be forgotten and will be the subject of seemingly unreasonable eulogies. Elvis Presley was one. Millions still visit his home each year to pay respects, copy him and are crazy about him. But in his personal life, he took drugs and destroyed himself.

    Rafi Saab was not only an inimitable singer he was a great human being too. Sweet, simple, humble, generous and selfless. Where can you get such a combination? Which other singer had this beautiful smile always on his face? Why should we not be crazy about him? His voice was sweeter than all others’ – has anyone been able to sing like him? They try to but do they ever succeed?

    No one is saying he is a celestial being. What is a celestial being anyway, and who has seen one? But there is no doubt that Rafi Saab’s voice was charismatic in a way that has stolen the hearts of generations of people. It may be that you don’t feel that way about him. You have to have that extra something, I don’t know how to describe it, to love him. You have to be a bit special yourself to know how special he was. Besides, not everyone has the gift of describing exactly how they feel about things in words. Millions of his fans love him to death (as fans do generally), and maybe they use some exaggerations such as ‘voice of god’. It is just because they love him. Love is like that, it takes you to a point where you may lose reason, poets have described this in their works through the ages. So, it’s only love that a fan can give a singer like Rafi Saab. They don’t know how else to shower praise but to use the utmost praise which is of course ‘voice of god’. No one is deliberately trying to be blasphemous here, who after all, has seen or heard God? We think of god when we see or hear something utterly beautiful. Well, that is the voice of Rafi Saab and his songs. Yes, music directors, lyricists, musicians, all put in their bit too and their contribution to the success of the songs cannot be overlooked. But they did so for others as well. However, in Rafi Saab’s voice was a special magic which did take the song to a different realm and this is why people delve into the eulogies.

    Please try to understand and not let it rankle you.

  44. Nasreen says:

    Salaam Sohail Sahab

    Thank you so much for sharing this magical and once in a lifetime experience of yours. I felt as if I was there too, credit goes to you for describing everything so well, for taking pictures and for sharing them so selflessly. And to your cousin for helping you.
    One can see the family likeness between Saddique Sahab and his departed brother with the golden voice., our beloved Rafi Saab.
    Beautiful journey made to Lahore, beautiful write up about it all – very generous of you to share it here. thanks a million

  45. Sanjeev Dixit says:

    Resp. Sohail ji,
    It is a very emotional writeup. We RAFI FANS comes to know with very very rare informations about RAFI SAHAB provided by you.We also saw the very rare and family pictures of RAFI SAHAB. Really you are very lucky that you met MR. SIDDIQUE JI and visited his house.
    Thanks for this great write up and sharing this with us on this great forum dedicated to MOHD. RAFI SAHAB.
    I am very greatful to MR. PRADEEP JI for providing this unique forum to all the RAFI LOVERS and helped to make a beautiful friend circle of RAFI lovers.After joining this forum i introduced so many great RAFI FANS.Thanks Pradeep ji and thanks to all of the RAFI LOVERS on this forum for providing very great informations about great LEGEND.

  46. H.A.K. Walijah says:

    Rafi Saheb Die Hard Fans

    I truly admire the perspiration and hard work the fans of Rafi Shaheb did take when sending the articles, but at the same time it exceed the boundary of human limits and making Rafi Saheb a celestial being, though he was not a celestial being but a gifted singer and a good human being only, nothing more than that. But I have been reading a few articles which are high in extempore and exaggerating and making Rafi Saheb more than a singer and human being, which is not good and do not cross the limits of human beings and make him equal to as such the phrase goes on voice of God etc. There is nothing such things. Even the euology some fans are making which utterly disgusting and not at all healthy praise.

    Even the comment made in this article is too much exaggerating as such if God want to create another Rafi, He can not creat another Rafi.

    I request all the Rafi Saheb fans to control the emotions and write articles which should not cross the boundaries of human beings. We all listen Rafi Saheb songs and enjoy and remember the Greatest singer in all walks of life. Rafi Saheb will and would never fade away from the memories of millions of fans.

  47. sabnavees says:

    Sohail Sahab,

    Adaab. What an excellent narration of the complete journey through our legend’s home. I stand up & salute you sir. It was an exhaustive reading for me. I have treasured it by taking the print out.

    Its superb, superb & no words to express janaab. Like you I too could not meet Rafi sahab even though I was In Bombay during 1967, 1970 , 1975 & 1979 each time for at least a fortnight. Upon my request to RAFI sahab’s residence my Chacha Ji was telling all the times that they are very big people & to get an appointment itself is difficult. But latter I came to know that RAFI sahab was a very simple person having no ego or airs. Its my misfortune.

    When I recollect this , drops of tears roll down my eyes showing the vibration of my heart which will continue till its final moment of palpitation.

  48. achalr says:

    sohail butt sahab

    what a wonderful narration of the story of a truly great man and a man of god !!!

    my respect for Rafi Sahab has gone up manifold after hearing all this. without sounding envious or jealous of you (music lovers must not even think about such an emotion), i must say that you are truly lucky and blessed to have stepped on the pious and so fortunate piece of land that Rafi Sahab walked on, and i am so unlucky not to have been there.

    if god wills one day we shall all be fortunate enough to have such a close view of the place of his birth, the place where he grew up.

    thank you so much for such a beautiful write up.

    warm regards

    achal rangaswamy

  49. H.V.GURU MURTHY says:

    Sohail Saab,

    Thank you very much for sharing all these information at Toranto as well as Lahore. You are lucky that atleast you could visit the places visited by Rafi Saab as well meet his family members.

    Well, I am getting one curious question? Rafi Saab was in Bombay and his brothers in Lahore during the Indo-Pak wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971. Just imagine how the family members on each side of the border must have felt? Well, for everyone, Country comes first but still to think that their brother and other family members are in a Country with which our Country is at war, well, very difficult to digest. I am difinitely not casting aspersions on any body, but trying to imagine their inner feelings.

  50. A S MURTY says:

    sohail butt sahab. adaab. a standing ovation to you on several counts. first your deepest passion and adoration for rafi sahab. then your strong desire to meet rafi sahab (alas which could not be fulfilled) and then your will to meet the real brothers of rafi sahab – abdul hameed sahab and mohammed siddique sahab. reading your essay i felt as though we were part of the fantastic journey that you undertook to lahore (oh, what a wonderful description of the city) and the detailed description of your meeting with the brothers of rafi sahab, your visit to the house in “bilal gunj”, your cousin ismail’s butt’s help in arranging the logistics, your meeting with rafi sahab’s nephew ashfaq, etc. the accompanying photographs too tell a tale, of how committed mohammed siddique sahab is towards eternal music and that his disposition towards visitors like you reminds one of rafi sahab’s hospitality towards visitors to his house in mumbai. and you have amply described rafi sahab’s humility and humble nature when you state that “Rafi Sahab was the true face of love, peace, inter-religious harmony based on Gandhian philosophy, Secularism and Indian Nationalism. Despite the fact that he belonged to Lahore and all his immediate family lived in Lahore, he remained an Indian citizen by choice till death. His burial in Mumbai, India proved his eternal and everlasting love with the soil that immortalized him for ever”. reading your write up made my day, sohail sahab. many thanks for taking us through the wonderful journey and giving us so much more on rafi sahab’s otherwise unknown life.

    Rafi Foundation,
    Hyderabad Chapter.

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