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Rafi Saab taught us many lessons but left behind the most difficult question paper

By Achal Rangaswamy

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Allah e Allah kar pyaare bhai Allah e Allah sang the fakir who kept appearing in the movie Pavitra Paapi, a film marked by the appearance of the father-son duo of the great Balraj Sahni and the debutant Parikshit Sahni.  Every time there was a crucial scene in the film it would end with the fakir walking by singing to himself, oblivious of the worldly happenings.

Was this by any chance, the portrayal of the fakir who used to walk the streets of Kotla Sultan Singh as the young Pheeko would follow him  all over the village almost till the border, marveling the voice of the mendicant as he sang Khedande din char ek malk, khedande din char. It may have been, it may not have been. But whenever I think of the song from the film Pavitra Paapi , the image of this young boy running after the fakir comes to my mind. And the Pheeko then turns into a grown up Mohammed Rafi, all smiles and a shy countenance lit up with benevolent eyes. How truly he must have been blessed by that fakir who would have asked for the little boy to sing as well, if not better than himself.

We all grow up dreaming of things to do. At times we are left with a few regrets about unaccomplished goals and unreached summits in our life. On my last day on this earth I shall have only one regret. For I have got in abundance everything else in life. And that regret would be that I could not meet Rafi Saab in person and couldn’t touch his feet.

Apart from not having given me the gift of a personal meeting, Rafi Saab has given me everything else. He has given me the pleasure of his visits in my dreams every day for a full year before my beginning to write on the pages of this forum.  He has given me the gift of his treasury of marvelous songs and stories that abound about the simple unassuming god-fearing man who was so gentle that his son had to strain his ears to listen to him when he called for him.

I have a large circle of friends from so many different walks of life that I am thankful to God and Rafi Saab, because many of these friends have come into my life because of this forum and some of the Rafi fan groups that have been formed on this earth.

On his death anniversary in 2009 I wrote that I missed him terribly. The subsequent year on the same day I wrote that I no longer miss him because he is always with me in the form of the CDs and audio gadgets that I travel with all the time. Last year I wrote about his coming down to earth and sitting with me and singing for me.

This year all I want to do is dedicate to my idol what I consider  the result of my most difficult and challenging  examination or test. And that test is, a list of ten songs that I feel Rafi Saab came down on earth to sing, only as an offering from the gods to us mortals. And why I say challenging and difficult is because anybody else reading this article could perhaps conjure up another list of ten absolutely different songs !

The songs have been selected without any kind of favour to a particular actor or music director or even era. The only factor that I may perhaps have considered would be the mood, the occasion or the sheer  reason for it being different from any of the other songs in the list.

Here they are:

  • Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhaata Chala Gaya–  oozing optimism, inspirational and my own  personal favourite.
  • Tere Bin Soone Nayan Hamaare– pathos, emptiness, longing, and painful yearning.
  • Kahaan jaa rahaa hai tu ae jaaney waaley– soul searching, hauntingly halting one in his track
  • Tere Mere Sapne ab ek rang hain– perhaps the most romantic song ever sung by a lover for his beloved. If I could sing this would be the only song I would sing.
  • Radhike tune bansuri  churaayi– devotional yet playfully simple song, the singer loses himself in this song as if being a witness to the goings on in Brij
  • Main Gaaon tum so jaao– a perfect lullaby, a song that would lull me to sleep on many a summer night on the terrace of our house in New Delhi
  • Main tere dar pe aaya hoon kucch karke jaaonga– a prayer, a supplication, a seeker who will not leave the precincts of the shrine until his wish is fulfilled. Determination to be rewarded writ in every word uttered In the song.
  • Jaata hoon main mujhe ab na bulaana– severance of all relationships, a departure, a shunning of everything that one had possessed earlier.
  • Meri awaaz suno pyaar ka raaz suno– never before and never after would a tribute to a single human being be found  of such high order and with such understanding of a person’s traits.
  • Kar chale hum fida jaan o tan saathiyon–  the most patriotic and powerful song that I have heard in my life. Every time I would hear it, I would want to don the olive green uniform and rush to the border to protect the motherland.

I know there will be arguments and counter arguments. I know there will be countless other lists that will be compiled. I also know that many readers on this forum would say that it would be most irreverent to try and compile a list of 100 tops songs of Rafi Saab, leave alone 10.

Yes, I did begin by saying this was challenging and perhaps the most difficult exam of my life.

For Rafi Saab was a great teacher. He gave us many lessons, he taught us many things.  But presented to us the most difficult question paper to try and answer.

If he, sitting up there in the heavens, smiles back at me and says, bus 10 pe hi ruk gaya, aur aagey badh, I would tell him – Rafi Saab ab aap mujhe ek hi baat bataayie, main toh 1000 gaanon ki fahrist tayyar kar doonga, kya aap mere liye ek din ke liye yahaan zameen par aayenge ?

I wait for your reply, Rafi Saab… I have been waiting…

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26 Blog Comments to “Rafi Saab taught us many lessons but left behind the most difficult question paper”

  1. Akshay says:

    Your absolutely right I actually have my own list of 10 which only has one similarity with yours which is just incredible. It speaks so much about the man that two fans could publish entirely different lists. I honestly think he might be too humble to ask for more than 10. I enjoyed your 10 nice choices! below is my 10 :). Not in order.
    Mann re tu kahe
    Dard e dil
    Tu is tarah
    Tum Jo Mil Gaye ho
    Jaan pehechaan ho
    Kabhi Khud pe
    Tum Bin Jaoon Kahan
    Aane se uske
    Tere Mere Sapne
    Baharon Phool Barsao re

  2. Mohammed Aslam says:

    A highly pure attachment with the diamond legend is God gifted for long long years and forever for all Rafians, which resulting us in meeting all Rafians exchanging each others heart beats shows a huge tribute to the World’s Melody Minister Mohammed Rafisaab. The BaarBaarRafi Group is highly appreciable that they are very combinely delivering mammoth effort an unbeatable job for the Kingdom of Rafians.
    If we are willing to give something to the nation great, we have to follow only only RAFI JEE, a Dean for everyones life.

    By Mohammed Aslam

  3. Sanjana says:

    Listen to Rafi Sahab’s son in conversation with radio personality Mr. Rohit Jagessar, “the Music Merchant” of

    Here is the link:'sSonInterview.mp3

  4. Sharad Desai says:

    I am sure if all Rafi fans write down their 10 favourites, definitely all of Rafi saab songs will be counted. Rafi saab has given playback to maximum artists ( 200 artists ? can any one update on this ? )

  5. bhaskaram says:

    rafi saab..
    we all know he is an excellent singer.. what i wish to tell is he is a great singer but he is even greater as a human ..
    my father told me this episode ..and i dont know whether it is true or false..
    a good 98% chances are that it is true.
    padmasri chittor. V. nagayya made the film “bhakta ramadas”
    during the ending stages of the film his financial resources are totally drained and artists , technicians worked for him for free out of respect for him..
    three songs of kabir das .initially planned to be sung by rafi..
    since his finance is bad he told to his assistant that at this stage we cant afford rafi..lets get those songs sung by some other body..
    we dont know how this went into rafi saab’s ear..
    he came to madras(chennai) on his own.. took a hotel room .. called nagayya.. sung all the three songs took three(3) rupees (one rupee for each song) ..and went back..
    just imagine… one song per one rupee..while his usual remuneration is some where around 1000 per song that was way back in early 60’s
    that is rafi..
    even while he is practically ruling hindi play back field.. he used to transfer some songs to his contemporaries..upon some pretext or other..

  6. Binu Nair says:

    When Rafi saaheb songs are heard and people are walking on streets ‘they’ suddenly stop to listen the song.

    once a prisoner was asked about his one last wish before being sent to the gallows.

    his last wish was to hear again and again : “oh duniya ke rakhwale…. from baiju bawra.

    in a concert in london recently, just 35 tickets were sold for a himesh reshamiya show recently.

    in a rafi saab concert, the show goes house full even today. some singers are very much worried due to this.

    binu nair from the rafi foundation

  7. bhumesh sharma says:

    when I hear songs sung by singers like Kishor Kumar. Manna dey, Mukesh Lata mangeshkar and others, I feel that sound is coming from speakers of radio or tv or recorder. But when I hear Rafi sahab, I feel that sound is coming from my own heart.

  8. Anshul Bhola says:

    Rafi Saab is for every season every reason. The best thing ever happened to music is that Rafi saab’s voice is involved in it. I remeber the words of Raj Kapoor on Rafi Saab’s demise ” In the world of singing the uncrowned king has left us ” I will just say that “Tu kahi aas paas hai dost”

  9. Shaik Saleem says:

    Dear all,
    For rafi sahab i have only one word “He was a perfectionist”

  10. Muzakir Khan says:

    My Year of birth is 1990, and I always feel bad that I wasn’t present in this world when Md. Rafi Saheb was Alive.. Rafi Saheb ke geet mere saathi.. I am little black compared to others in my family, and during my younger days many used to tease me as KAALU, then I used to sing a song ” Humae kaale hai to kya huwa dilwale hain”.. You all know we have all type to situation songs that are sung by our great legend Md. Rafi Saheb.. And no doubt his soul is resting in heaven since he died during the month of Holy Ramadan..

    1. Baharon Phool Barsao..
    2. Tumhari Nazar kyun Khafa hogayi (Sad Version)..
    3. Kaun Hai Jo sapno mae Aaya..
    4. Yunhi tum mujhse baat karti ho..
    5. Pardesiyon sae na akhiyaan milana..
    6. Likhe jo khat tujhe, wo teri yaad mae..
    7. Chalkaye Jaam, Aayiye aapki aankhon ke naam..
    8. Ye duniyan, ye mehfil mere kaam ki nahi..
    9. O dilbar jaaniye, tere hain hum tere..
    10. Legayi Dil gudiya japan ki, pagal mujhe kardiya. Japan, Love in Tokyo..
    The List of my favourite Rafi songs never ends..

  11. hyder imani says:

    no marriage is complete without Rafi Saheb’s “babul ki dua ee leti jaan ke tujko sukhi sanar mile”. What a singer , he could vibrate the strings of stone hearted me.

  12. Anand Shankar says:

    Yes, it is realy very difficult to prepare the list of even top 100 songs of Rafi Sahab. My top ten Rafi songs would be like this:

    1. O duniyan ke rakhwale
    2. Madhuban me radhika
    3. Husnwale tera jawab nahin
    4. Chal ud ja re panchhi
    5. Khoya Khoya chand
    6. Zindagi bhar nahin bhulegi
    7. Tere bin suni nain humare
    8. Sathi na koi manzil
    9. Din dhal jaaye
    10. Jane bahar husn tera

  13. Achal rangaswamy says:

    Dear friends

    Rafi sahab has this great aura that surrounds us all and bonds us together!



  14. nayeemuddin says:

    fans celeberation invitation to me published
    in the blog please search in google search by typing as


  15. Khaja Aliuddin, MD says:

    In the continuation of Br. Ali’s post #11, I would say Aameen.
    with regards to all Rafi lovers,

    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin

  16. ali says:

    bas unke liye maghferat ki dua hi nikalta hai is mubarak sahre ramzaan me… allah rabulalameen unke ruh e mubarak ko jannat atta farmaaye..

  17. sunil kumar says:

    Dear all ,
    Delhi was waiting for the rain fall for the last one month and each passing day was adding to the miseries of the people Then came 31st July I wake in the morning to see rain and I cries immediately Oh today is 31st July.
    people are happy to see the rain their faces are brightened but I knew it has come because of Rafi sahab a great soul a great singer and still undisputed king. we listen to him every day to fill our thirst.

  18. Deepak Rahi says:

    Dear all
    Rafi saheb ke bare mein kuchh vi kaho kam hi hain. unka koi v ek gana suno aise lagta hai k khuda gaya raha hai aur apni life pe hi gaya gaya.
    may his soul rest in heaven.

  19. Dhananjay says:

    I love Rafi Sahab.gr888888test soul and a gr888test singer ever on planet earth.fantastic writing achal ji.I cannot spend a single day without listening to rafi Sahab.

  20. ashok parekh says:

    mumbai witness a heavy spell of rain for a change in the current year of scanty rainfall all over, as if to remember this particular day of 31st july – 32 years ago.

    like achalji, i am also one of the millions unlucky fans who missed to see and hear rafisaab in person during their life time.

    achalji, many thanks for another excellent piece of write up to pay timely tribute to rafisaab on this day.

    ashok parekh

  21. J.K. Bhagchandani says:

    Achal ji,

    Marvelous, simply superb. It is the fitting tribute to our Rafi saab, the most revered and constant companion of all of us in our journey of life. His songs have given us happiness, the joy, the solace, the masti and every single emotion of life.

    One may differ on the list of 10 best songs that you have chosen but there is no difference of opinion on rest of the write-up. But I greatly admire concept behind each selection. They represent different facades of life, and Rafi saab has brought each façade like no one can.

    Please accept my compliments and congrats.

    -J.K. Bhagchandani

  22. dr.jai.ketwaru says:

    For the great singing miracle in this world Badsha Mohammed Rafi :Tu Kahaa jee Bata iesh Nashali Zindagi mee;Wo to Wooooo tha;Eek Tar Hindustaan kee Dharthi Pee zamadien dieja aur tjamakta tha Sitara nee,aur ab talak tjamakta hai ,aur djab talak Dharthi reheenga tjamakta reheenga.jai.ketwaru

  23. M V Krishnan says:

    Dear Achal Rangaswami,

    As you have said you have undertaken the impossible task of naming 10 top songs of our farishta. The result, though excellent will differ from each of the millions of Rafisaab fans’ list. Your list contains 3 songs which will fit in my list. I do not have the courage to limit myself to 10 and if it was the top 100 I might have made a go for it! A very well thought out list and as usual your writing deserves all the accolades.
    M V Krishnan

  24. Sal Rafi says:

    Achal, I wouldn’t have put it any better. Good writing and good selection of songs. As you rightly mentioned many others can come up with another 10 or even 100 different songs.
    Remembering the greatest on his death anniversary with my eyes moist, heart filled listening to his melodious soothing voice.
    Another die hard Rafi fan.

  25. Ali says:


  26. dear rangaswamy saab, millions of rafi fans would not be so fortunate to meet rafi saab personally in their life time but as you say rafi saab is always with us.Yes rafi saab is always with us. No one can separate him from us. rafi saab live in our hearts and he will live in the hearts of every coming generation. I heartily pay my respect to the great of greatest and only one singer of the millenium and great human being who once born in this earth was a true farishta. only regret is rafi saab still not been honored with’bharat ratna’ for which he actually deserved. rafi saab amar rahein. ek chhota sa rafi devotee. Regards, Birendra Singh Bisht

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