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Mrs. Mohd Rafi talks about Rafi Sahab

This article was posted by Saj1974@HF.

Saj1974 says he had this article for alomost 14 years. Probably it was published on Stardust or Star and Style in the year 1988. This article portrays the simple nature of Rafi Sahab. Mr. Ashok Parekh laments that it is a matter of regret that Mrs. Bilquis Rafi’s thoughts were published after 8 years of Rafi Sahab’s passing away and it reached to us after the next 16 years.

We see confusion in the date of birth of Rafi Sahab. As indicated in this article, Mrs. Rafi said Rafi Sahab would be turning 54 years old in 1980. That makes us believe that Rafi was born in 1926 rather than the popular number year 1924.

Also one Mr. Abdul Amin as Rafi Sahab’s brother has been mentioned in this article. We all know that the man behind the success is Mr. Hameed Sahab. One possibility that we can think here is that the author probably did not take down the name correctly. The author heard the name Abdul Amin, while she mentioned Abdul Hameed. Amin v/s Hameed – we do not find any drastic and distinct pattern in the pronounciation here. This happens to be our speculation. No hard facts are based here.

For much clarity and vivid roles of Rafi Sahab, the article has been broken down into certain segments. Lets enjoy the article.

“Akele akele kahan jaa rahe ho” the voice was deep, husky, sexy.
“Suhani raat dhal chuki” the tome turned sad, sombre.
“Chalkaye jaam” the slur of a drunkard. Intoxicating.
“Yahoo. Chahe mujhe koi junglee kahen!” Exciting. Vivacious. The voice had adopted a dare-devil attitude.

Behind all these moods lay one man – Mohammad Rafi.

Professionally acclaimed, personally Mr. Rafi preferred to be an unknown. He hid his name and family from the eyes of the industry and the public. Today, eight years after his death, Mrs. Rafi resurrects the man behind the singer; the father behind the professional and the husband behind the Rafi saab that we all knew and loved.


I did not have a father only my mother and an elder brother. But from as far back as I can remember, Rafi saab was a household name. My sister had married his elder brother, and it was she who brought the proposal home. I was doing my sixth standard examinations and had just returned from school, when my sister told me, tomorrow you are getting married. I was 13 years old and Rafi Saab was 19. I didn’t know the meaning of the word shaadi, but did exactly as I was advised.

I don’t want to elaborate on the marriage, because I was probably too young to understand what was happening to me.

Who will do the house work?

Rafi saab had been singing from the age of 10. So when we got married, he was well into singing ghazals (which were a rage at that time), and film songs.

But since I came from a very conservative upbringing, I didn’t quite like music, it didn’t matter so much to me. Even when we were married, Rafi saab didn’t encourage me to listen to his songs. He’d always smilingly look at me and joke – “If you only paid attention to my singing, who will do the house work?” We would share a good laugh about it.


We lived in a chawl at Dongri in the beginning of our marriage. I never felt anything, because I knew my young husband would be great one day. A little later, we shifted to a chawl in Bhendi Bazar, but Rafi saab didn’t quite like the area. So by the grace of Allah and fate, we soon took up an ownership flat at Colaba.

I never interfered in my husband’s work, but I realised that things were looking up for us. Even though Rafi saab never showed it – he remained a simple man throughout his fame. In 1954, we shifted to our home in Bandra and have remained here ever since. It was here that we had six of our seven children – four sons and three daughters.


Rafi saab was a very simple human being. His life revolved around his children. In fact, I’d say unki zindagi bachche the. I can’t recall a single moment when he never asked about them. His was a routine: a home-to-recording-and-back-home schedule. After which, he’d promptly ask me if the children wanted anything. There was nothing he wouldn’t give them. Only the Almighty above knows how they didn’t grow up spoilt. They adored their father and were very proud of him.

The only thing the children disliked about their abba was that he didn’t encourage taking them to recordings, functions or movies. In fact, they hated going to the movies with their father, because it was always the case of, “Let’s enter after the film begins and we’ll leave before it ends.” The kids always complained that they didn’t know what the start and end was!


All this stemmed from the fact that Rafi saab disliked publicity of any kind. It was funny, because even if we were attending a marriage, he’d promptly tell the driver to wait near the gate. He’d enter, go straight to the bridal couple and after wishing them warmly, he’d walk back to the car and we’d drive home. It was quite a joke really.

Even the interviews he had to give, weren’t clone by him. The previous night, he would sit with his elder brother Abdul Amin and he’d explain to him how to answer. All Rafi saab’s interviews were done by his elder brother. Infact, he treated Abdul saab like a father – the man literally caught my husband’s finger and taught him to walk. Abdul saab figures very prominently in making my husband the celebrity he finally became.


Rafi saab as far back as I remember, would wake up every day at 3am and do his ‘riyaaz’. After about two-and-a-half-hours of that, he’d go and play a game of badminton. Yes, the only funny habit he did have, was to fly kites. Even if he had a half-hour break between one recording and another, he would rush home, run up to the terrace and start flying his kites. He was like a child when it came to his kite flying. And he’d sulk like a baby if his kites were cut. This habit was his only love till the end.

Family Man

I think his greatness lay in his humble attitude towards people. He was very religious and never forgot to thank Allah for what he had become and achieved. The whole world around him had progressed, people had changed, but Rafi saab knew nothing of it – his ways never changed according to the times. For him, it was the togetherness of his family which mattered. I think he was at his best when he would call all of our relatives over, ask me to cook a lovely meal and sit and chat. The unity of our whole family, is what Rafi saab was very sentimental about.


My husband didn’t have any favourite singers. For any song that was sung well, he’d praise the singer. And even if he did like someone more than another, it was never mentioned – even to us. He always felt that if he took sides, he’d be hurting so many others in the bargain.

If anyone came and said, “Rafi saab, you sang so well that that movie is a hit and the hero has become big”, he’d answer, “if it wasn’t for the music director or that hero, I wouldn’t be singing that song. Inki vajay se mujhe kaam mila”.


Every music director that he worked with was treated with equal respect. For example: when Rafi saab was already an established singer, Laxmikant-Pyarelal were violinists in Shankar-Jaikishen’s group. Yet, when Laxmi-Pyare became big, never once did Rafi saab consider them as mere violinists. He’d always say, “Mere ustaad hain, I will learn more by singing for him”.

Favourite Songs

I know he loved his song from Dulari under Naushad saab’s music – “suhani raat dhal chuki, na jaane tum kab aaogee”.

But there were quite a few of his own songs which he liked. I knew it, because after his recording, he’d gather the children, bring out the harmonium and sing the song. He’d do this quite often when he was in a happy mood. What Rafi saab did quite enjoy, was when he had sung a song with a star like with Nanda in Jab Jab Phool Khile or with Saira in Aman.

He always told us excitedly, “Today I sang with so-and-so”.

Favourite Films

God knows what he liked about it, but he saw Sholay thrice. He attended many trials, but I don’t remember him mentioning any film in particular.

Favourite Actors

As far as actors were concerned, Rafi saab did have a special liking for Sammiji and Dharamji. Shammiji, almost at every recording, would listen to Rafi saab and literally act out how he’d do a particular line, or make an expression with a particular word.

Dharamji was another actor who always openly showered his love on Rafi saab. Bada pyar tha in dono actoron ke liye. In fact, I am proud to say that I don’t think there is any film industry person who didn’t love my husband. And personally, he never spoke a word against anyone.

The End

I spent the most wonderful 35 years of my life with Rafi saab – before he passed away on July 31, 1980. He was going to be 54. I remember it even today. He had been requested to do a Bengali recording for their Kaali pooja album. The day before that, he told me “I’m tired, I don’t think I’ll be able to sing this Bengali song”. So I told him to tell the people to take somebody else. “No, no they’re coming all the way from Calcutta in the hope that I will agree. I’ll do it this year, but next year I’ll say no”.

The next day, he sat for rehearsal from 9:30am and was in pain, but he refused to tell us anything till 12:30 in the afternoon. We scoulded him about it, but he told us, “Those who come to the Rafi residence, should never return empty-handed”. These were his last words.

He was in a lot of pain and was sweating profusely. It was also in the month of Ramzan, so he was hungry. His hands and feet were yellow. The doctors asked us to shift him to a hospital, explaining that Rafi saab had suffered a very major heart attack. The end came soon after that.

Today, when I look back I am grateful for the children we have borne. They have been wonderful sons and daughters, and have been my strength for the last eight years, after his passing away. But yet there are moments when I wish I was 13 years old and Rafi saab was 19. There are times when I wish he’d come to me like he would nearly every evening, sit beside me and ask me, “What is troubling you? Tell me your troubles and they’ll all go away”.

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68 Blog Comments to “Mrs. Mohd Rafi talks about Rafi Sahab”

  1. Bashirahmed H. Jamadar says:

    Rafisaahab jinaki history pura jamana kitabonme padhakar unake baareme harkisiko batate hai, aaj khud unake sharike-hayat ki jubani unaki yaaden padhakar dil bhar aaya, sachmuch bahot mukkadas taqdirwali aurat hain Mrs.Bilkis Rafi, jinhone jindagike 35 saal rafisaahab ke saath gujare hain. Maine 1978 me poona me ek funcationme rafisahab ko sirf 1 baar karibse dekha hai to muze yesa laga meri jindagi safal ho gayi, phir inhone to35 saal unake saath bitaye hai sachmuch duniya me sabase khushkismat aurat samazata hun, allahatala unhe lambi umar de…AMIN……..

  2. Vipin Kumar Sharma says:

    I had arrived at Bombay on the 17th of December,2012 for some official work but believe me I forgot my work but had just one wish to visit the house of Rafi Sahab. Each place I visited in Bombay only reminded me of only and only Rafi Sahab.

  3. Vipin Kumar Sharma says:

    May somebody give his all available video clips to me at my email ID?

  4. Vipin Kumar Sharma says:

    I am going to visit his house today.

  5. Vipin Kumar Sharma says:

    I have just one sorrow in my life not to meet Rafi Sahab personally. This will teese my heart till my end.

  6. ashwin kondhai says:

    Through his golden 1 would realize the simplicity and humbleness of him.
    I would love to get videos on his interviews for my personal enlightenment. As well as his
    live show recordings

  7. Nasir Khan says:

    Rafi Saab was one and only one ,no one can take his place.I salut you a great and simple personality.May my God make me like him

  8. Mohammed Aziz ali says:

    It is not considerd one of the best singers of all time . He is the best Dil ka suna sazz tarana dhodengha arei mujkho mera baad zamana dhodengha . Pray for u jannat mille

  9. kunda vernekar says:

    always adored Rafisab.wish he had lived longer.may be god wanted him up there.

  10. ashfaque engineer says:

    simply simple,shy man…listen to his interviews,so simply he spoke…no show off.

  11. iftikhar ahmed says:

    rafi sahib was the greatest of all time, i had met them in 1979 at manchester apollo ardwick uk, never seen a person so soft spoken and kind,down to earth, i have been there fan all my life, may allah give them jannatt, amin.

  12. Karthik Ramaswamy says:

    I could say with full conviction that there never has been one perfect example of a person so well accomplished, yet so humble as a child, as Rafi sahaab – my heartfelt and sincere salutations to him! He has been my most admired singer to this day. May the almighty grant him all peace and glory in his salvation! There is a sanskrit saying that “True education leads to humility” and I am sure that Rafi sahaab fits the bill perfectly!

  13. omar says:

    i am a very big fan of rafi saab and always remember him when i even think about songs but he is no more and that is cuz that was when allah wanted to take away his soul , well everyone has to go 1 day thats life

  14. Ismail says:

    Thanks for the article and infact it was a grt pleasure to know abt Rafi Sahab not as a singer but in various other roles 🙂

  15. Mahendra Kapadia says:

    Rafi saheb was a great singer.No singer can take his place. I like a picture of his innocent and sweet smiling.I do not know why god took him away.

  16. Md. Manzar Aquil Rizvi says:

    I dont ahve word to express regarding Md. Rafi Saheb, the few words were published in Times of India on 24 July 2010 sums up his voice as, “If there are 101 ways of saying “I love you” in a song, Mohammed Rafi knew them all. The awkwardness of puppy love, the friskiness of teen romance, the philosophy of unrequited love and the anguish of heartbreak – he could explore every crevice of ardour. It wasn’t just love, his voice could capture the navras of life – a failed poet’s melancholy, a fiery unionist’s vim, a debt-ridden farmer’s despair, really anybody at all. Rafi, whose career spanned nearly four decades, was a singer for every season and every reason

  17. Md. Manzar Aquil Rizvi says:

    awaaz ka jadugar ………….

  18. D K Dwivedi says:

    God has created one and only one Rafi… what a simple / humble personality and what a great artist… when you watch the interviews, you cannot imagine this simple man is the greatest singer of the world. I have been unfortunate for not getting a chance to see him live..

  19. azad ahmad says:

    I m big fan of rafi sb, I always used to listen with lata ji, even I have some collection of duets. I searched his bio from so many sites. but I was dissapointed, that these sites has not mentioned about his childrens. what they r doing now? why they didn’t enter in this industry. now a days this is the faishion/passion to star kids to enter in this industry n the stars r trying to their best efforts . Can anyone pls give me the details I ask for……..




  20. Dev Sharma says:

    Hello All,

    I am in USA and my friend Navtej Singh Jandh in Nawan Pind near Amritsar are super fan of Mohd.Rafi sahib. We born in the same city (Amritsar) where Rafi Sahib born. Mrs. Rafi did not mentioned. We were high school especially when we were in our ninth standard, we run away from school, yes bunk from the school, took bus to the downtown to grab more and more information about Rafi Sahib in 1988.
    we brought up many songs books and ven Navtej brought a big note book and he had written all the favorite songs.
    I went India recently in may 2011 stayed with Navtej, I have seen the same notebook in his almira. Now he brought iPhone 4 in India, you know why, to watch all video song of Rafi Sahib, hr said when I asked my silly question why you spent more than 40000 rupees on this phone. And also he mentioned he heard from his uncle(chacha ji) that Navtej used to mention his childhood that when he would grow up he would have VCR and he must record all song of M.Rafi. So he did this way now.
    Navtej always disappointed with people who did not given the deserving respect to M.Rafi. He angry on the government that he mentioned they did not provide the right and proper place for him cremation to build up his Smadh.
    There is many more to mention but beter Navtej write further in this blog. I have shared this article with him.

    One thing I forget to mentioned, Navteg famous as Rafi God in the school friends.
    M. Rafi best words about the life in Mukadar ka Sakadpndar are…..
    Zindagi to bewafa hai, eh din thukrayegi,
    Maut mehbooba hai, apne sath lay kar jayegi,
    Mar ke jeene ki adha Jo, duniya ko likh layega,
    Vo Mukadar ka sikandar jan-n-Mann kehlayega
    Thanks to read all this……Dev Sharma, Washington DC

  21. josh says:

    rafi is an angel a holy man

  22. Bhushan says:

    Haldar ji – 28

    Thank you sir for the facts.

    The Bengali song – link you shared – composed in “Hamsadhwani raga” was good to hear – though I am not familiar with the language, but being a musician, I could grasp the essence of the raga – composed in pure hindusthani style.

    The Hamsadhwani raga is very famous from the carnatic music angle, it is one of the melodious ragas – just a song in the raga from the carnatic style for your hearing please.–JLRpZE6GA

  23. P. Haldar says:

    post 27:

    No, the song with LP was not recorded on that fateful day. Rafi saab was not feeling well the previous evening and begum Rafi has requested him to cancel the rehearsal that morning. But because Shyamal babu had come all the way from Calcutta, Rafi saab didn’t want to disappoint him. Rafi saab collapsed in the hands of Dr. Mehta at the Bandra hospital that night. Naushad saab and Laxmikant ji were among the first to arrive at his bedside.

  24. Bhushan says:

    Haldar saab – 26

    Thanks for your post sir. Still there appears to be some confusion here. In this article it is written that on 31st july, 1980, “the end came soon after that” i.e. in the afternoon somewhere after 12.30 p.m. – If we go to the wikipedia it says that rafi recorded a song in the evening with Lakshmikant pyarelal and in the night at 10.30 p.m. he left the world. This was my doubt sir, perhaps there might be some proper reconciliation issue between both the events.

  25. P. Haldar says:

    post 23:

    bhushan ji,

    Both begum bilquis rafi sahiba’s observation and what has been reported in the press are accurate. LP’s song “tu kahin aas paas” is indeed rafi saab’s last recording. And the Bengali song referred to by Mrs. Rafi is his last rehearsed song. Rafi saab was rehearsing Bengali songs for the 1980 puja season; the composer was Shyamal Mitra, the md for the hindi film Anand Ashram. Apart from being a good composer, Shyamal babu was a very good singer, though a little overshadowed by Hemanta and Manna.

    At the time of his death, Rafi saab was a rage in Bengal. I’m posting a Bengali song delivered by him, Asha, Shailendra and Shyamal (composed by Shyamal Mitra):

    P. Haldar

  26. Ali says:

    There is one sun for this earth and one singer and he is moh rafi,as we all know that moon got more strong light than stars but light which we got it from moon it is from the sun,that mean even mohd rafi clone are better singers.stars got there on light but moon more powerful because ……

  27. dearest fans/bhakts,

    i have to thank post 18 to 23 – the most recent ones – which made me curious about this lovely article.

    a special thanks to mrs.bilquis rafi for sharing some of her most private thoughts with the rest of the world through this article.

    my repects towards rafi sahab – has increased many notches higher.

    the simplicity of the human form of rafi sahab has been expressed so very well.

    he was a towering personality – so down to earth and simple that we can sum up – that – there cannot be another rafi in this world. he was unique.

    this article is so warm and touching that – throughout i was weeping – truly rafi sahab can make you weep even without his songs – one can well imagine the great magical spell around him in whatever he said – did – and happened.

    reams of paper can be consumed talking about the avataar, but, we would not have finished writing about him.

    rafi sahab – tussi vakai great ho.

    adaab rafi,

    ramesh narain kurpad

  28. Bhushan says:

    this article is a nice article from none other than the lucky lady of the great singer. I had heard experiences of wives of established singers, and they are all wonderful like the ones narrated in the above article.

    But, a small doubt, the event narrated by Mrs. Mohd rafi regarding rendition of bengali song on the last day – appears to be totally different from what we have read in many posts i.e. the last recording was with lakshmikant pyarelal and after that in the night rafi ji left the world. This may kindly be enlightened by our esteemed friends pl.

  29. Bhushan says:

    Ali and Abhishek

    Who is the moon please ? Who are the nine planets then ?

  30. Abhishek says:

    Post 20

    There are many galaxies, each having their own suns, moons and stars in countless numbers.

  31. Ali says:

    There are many stars in the sky to shine on the earth but there is only one sun and there are many singers as many stars but only one sun as mohd rafi hit shine can’t be compare with stars shine

  32. GURDEEP THAKUR says:

    He was a repesentative of God to give god`s voice to human beings of all religion.

  33. GURDEEP THAKUR says:

    He was a representative of god to give his voice to all human beings of all religions.

  34. karrar hussain says:

    An inspirational singer must be a good human being,this is a condition.

  35. afsar says:

    a perfect blend of melody,rythm, riyaz, consistency, and dedication. an intoxicating cocktail, add the perfect human qualities. another RAFI can/will never be made. So guys, adore and preserve this voice for generations to come.

  36. Yogesh Jadhav says:


    I want to know about Rafi saheb’s family residential address. I am keenly want to meet Rafi saheb’s family members. I born in 1977, I am not lucky to see or meet Rafi saheb but atleast I can meet his maily mebers.

  37. anupam says:

    meri aankhen bhar ayee last para padh ke. wish i were again 13 and he was 19. may god bless you mrs rafi. regds, anupam

  38. saptarshi sengupta says:

    sahensha of playback,king of sweet voice,legend of all time

  39. Suraj Vohra says:

    Rafi saheb was an “Angel”, Farishta. Incredible voice, so versatile and he gave us all kinds of songs. Someone well said that HE WAS THE GOD SENT GANDHARVA

  40. Krish says:

    Rafi’s stature increased after reading this article by his wife. thanks

  41. abrar says:

    we all loved his songs, but after reading this article, we love him & admire him as a person………

  42. Pankaj Suneja says:

    Great article but i want to kno why did rafi sahab’s childrens not choose music carrier & what they do ??

  43. Ashraf Moghal says:

    I sit down and wonder – Lata, Asha and Usha – Mangeshkar sisters – all three were brought up to a theater operator’s house to rule the female singers’ world. How did Rafi Sahab’s children escape being influenced by the singer artist of the highest calibre?
    Now at age 65, I have obsessed with the more-than-perfect art of Rafi Sahab. Not to speak of his malencholy songs, tears would well up in my eyes even after listening to happs, boysterous and mischievous songs sung with such perfection. I would often say to my wife “How could God be so miserly to give the world such gems, but then take away so soon and so suddenly?”
    Before I die, I long to visit the part of this earth, the grave, his resting place to pay my respects and admiration. ,Until then, whenever I sing or even think of songs, Rafi Sahab’s face is on my mind.

    Nah Fankar Tujh Sa Tere Baad Aya
    Mohammad Rafi Tu Bahut Yaad Aya

    Only one of millions of Rafi Sahab’s admirers

    Ashraf Moghal
    May God send that blessed soul to the Earth once again!

  44. Shahid Mohammed says:

    Almost 29 years I wanted to know about Mr. Rafi ‘The Person’ not the ‘Singer’. Mrs. Rafi you have only Whetted my Appetite. Tell me more about Mr. Rafi – his Beliefs, wisdom, likes and dislikes, his education, thoughts on God, religion, life and afterlife, his spiritual experiences with God…anything and everything so that I will know, appreciate and love MORE the real Mr. Rafi. Before I die I MUST visit your home.

    I request: Biographies, Documentaries, Live Recordings of Mr. Rafi.
    I will be paying for the above requests.
    Please note that whatever I request is for my enlightenment and satisfaction and not commercial motives.

    Thank You.
    Shahid Mohammed

  45. S Butt says:

    Mrs Rafi did not mention about M. Rafi siblings. Did he ever mention to his wife about his family back in Lahore Pakistan?
    Following are his real family members:
    1. M. Din – Brother
    2. M. Shafi Brother i
    3. M. Ibrahim brother
    4. M. Siddique brother
    Father’s name was M. Ali
    I have no idea how many sisters M. Rafi had.

  46. What a wonderful article it is? It throws light on Rafisaabs image as caring husband and doting father.

  47. Rajkumar Sharma says:

    It is a rare article of its kind, which gave such a close look into the life of Rafi Sahab. His professional life has been wonderful but for the first time it was revealed in this site that he was equally great in the simplest possible way in his person life as well.
    Thanks for the article
    Rajkumar Sharma

  48. MdMd. Murthuzaa Ali Khan (salleem) says:

    I have been very very fond of his voice and all his songs. Romantic to Devotional songs. I already have more than a thousand songs downloaded in my laptop. I am touched and this article of Mrs Bilquis Md. Rafi is very informative. My grand father LATE Md Faizulla Khan sahab Born in 1922 in Visakhapatnam Andhra Pradesh was his ardent fan was just about 2 years older than the legend. My grand father expired on Oct 19th, 1980 merely 2 months later.

    I love to hear NON FILMI URDU DEVOTIONAL SONGS. I WISH TO DOWNLOAD if someone could help me find these songs and lyrics. YAA NABI SALAAM ALAIKA, KAALI KAMLI WAALE ETC… my email id is or

  49. Jayant Sanyal says:

    It vindicates my belief that a great artist or kalakar is first a great human being. To be a great artist one should be first a great Human being, and Rafi Sahab, was one of them.

    Dil Ka Suna Saaaz Tarana Dhoondega
    Teer Nigah-e-naaz nishana Dhoondega
    Mujhko Mere Baad Zamana Dhoondega

    This song it seems was written only for him!

    Rafi Sahab!, aap apne geeton,ghazlon mein hamare dil mein zinda the, zinda rahenge!

  50. rangaraj says:

    Rafi has become more adorable and deserving of extraordinary respect
    for me after reading this.

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