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Why Mohammed Rafi Deserves Bharat Ratna

This appeal is from all Rafi fans and members of The Rafi Foundation.

This appeal is a chorus for The Voice of the sub continent, the singer of the millennium. A fervent, passionate appeal to correct what all his legion of admirers and devotees righteously feel is a historic wrong. The mortal remains of, what the world undisputably acknowledges, of the legendary Mohammad Rafi may have bereaved us 27 years ago, but his ageless voice continues to throb and pulsate in our hearts even today.

But have we been fair to the genial giant whose voice soothes many a body and soul day unfailingly every day? The answer, unfortunately is a ‘no’. He swamped our lives for four decades, made his peerless voice an integral part of our psyche, rose above all petty human barriers and set a glorious example of impeccable dignity and honour in a strife-torn world. Rafisaab, as the world knew him, was an epitome of excellence and paragon of virtues in an industry notorious for its crass commercial values.

We as the people and government, have done precious little to perpetuate his memory. If this jewel lives on, it is because of his uniquely mind-boggling, 24-carat achievements that spanned an entire eon and swept generations. It must be the only instance of its kind where one personality has dominated the profession so comprehensively — four decades in a life that was cruelly cut short at just 56.


Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

It is an acknowledge fact. In his lifetime, the greatest singer of this country became a legend by sheer dint of his virtuosity. A man singing a marathon 25,000 songs in a career that spanned for four relentlessly melodious decades is an example unheard of in the annals of any profession. No other personality has dominated any profession in this manner. He made this priceless contribution to art and music which perhaps no one can replicate. His peer, Lata Mangeshkar, who has similar achievements to her credit has already been conferred with the prestigious award. Most social, cultural and political organizations have conceded in black and white that Mohommed Rafi is undoubtedly among the greatest 100 Indians ever born. Now it is for the Indian Government to honour this people’s verdict and ser right a historic wrong.


Mohammad Rafi is a jewel in India’s crown. His devotees have conferred their own Bharat Ratna on him. Still, it would be doing yeoman’s service to this shining light if the government gets its act together and confers this highest civilian award on him, although late in the day. Indeed, the title Bharat Ratna would feel honoured to be bestowed on this truly great son of the soil.

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

Mohammad Rafi was the true ambassador of this country – an iconic symbol who persona and career can be succinctly euologised as cultural heritage. There is not a lexicon made that can encompass his astonishing feats. The respect, love and adoration the country has for him is phenomenal by all standards even today where tomorrow becomes yesterday in no time. He was past-perfect, and will remain future-perfect because time has very rarely shown the courtesy to stand still for mortals whose reputation also comes with a short shelf life. 

His ageless voice brought India closer to the world. Indeed he was by far the most popular, respect and admired singer.  

It is hardly necessary to list the legendary exploits of this Great. To have provided unmatched brilliance to thousands of compositions, to have provided sparkle to the works of innumerable lyricists and composers is a feat unheard of in the annals of music. It could be only God’s own voice that could survive in a profession of cut-throats and with such a flourish. The sublime divinity in his voice tuned with his charitable disposition. To him, the song came first, rewards and remuneration later.


Mohommed Rafi was a man of tall character and tall achievements. Such was his profound influence that he became the eternal banyan tree of the film fraternity, this one-man music institution gave bread and butter to thousands of people. Today, twenty-seven years after his passing away, he is still a one-man ‘Gharana’. To be a Mohommed Rafi clone is actually considered to be a compliment by many upcoming singers.

Even today, all young and budding singers make no bones that they want to grow up to be another Rafisaab. It is amazing that twenty eight years after his death Mohommed Rafi continues to hold the same sway and charisma that he held during his incomparable career. 

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

It is a sad commentary that while we as people sing paens to him, we as government fail to recognize the greatness of this titan who was secularism personified. A formal Padma Shri and one busy throughfare in Mumbai’s suburban Bandra in his name is all that we have done for this wonderful singer who sang Bhajans with the same depth and gusto as the patriotic songs. When the country lapsed into its first worst riots in 1948 after Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, Mohammed Rafi’s was the only sane voice that soothed our nerves with “Suno suno ae duniyawalon Bapu ki yeh amar kahani.” When the nation went through anxious times in the wake of Chinese aggression in 1962, his voice gave us the strength to guard our fronts with a soul-stirring “Kar chale hum fida jaan-o-tan saathiyon.” During the wars with Pakistan, his diminutive presence and Pahadi voice fired the Indian soldiers, for whom he specially sang in war zones.


Mohommed Rafi sang for 41 years. In this marathon span, his voice captured every human emotion, every note, every range and every mood. He was a man for all seasons. The mind boggling 25,000 songs of myriad hues that he song are an unimpeachable testimony to a career that will remain one-off in the history of playback singing. He lent his unique voice to the compositions of over 175 composers, brought out the sparkle in the lyrics of over 275 lyricists and sang for virtually every actor of the Indian cinema, spanning generations.


Mohommed Rafi was far ahead of his times, a man who was above any religion. Indeed his only dharma was to sing and which he did with such merit. A Muslim he may have been by birth, but he sang the maximum bhajans and with so much feelings. One has to only soak in the Bhakti Rasa to know that here was a performer whose brilliance crossed all  human barriers and was a great binding force for all religions, which unfortunately are mired in petty issues. Today, if the country desperately needs any messiah, it has to be Mohommed Rafi hands down.  

Mohammad Rafi deserves Bharat Ratna for more reasons than one. He was one simple soul who was above factional and religious politics. The government would be sending right signals to all right-thinking people of this country by conferring Bharat Ratna on Mohammad Rafi posthumously. The precedent to bestow this coveted award posthumously has already been set. 

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi

We earnestly feel that giving Mohammad Rafi this long-awaited due, will serve as a great binding force for the distanced Hindu-Muslims. For, here was a personality, who despite his lack of formal education, had the courage of conviction and the cultural resilience to bring these two religions together. The love for Rafisaab transcends religion, caste, creed, gender and nationalities.


We passionately appeal to the committee that names the civilian awards that he be honoured aptly with the Bharat Ratna – befitting of the 26th January occasion. Rafisaab, as we all know, will never fade away from human memory. Such is his glittering career. An ideal citizen and an ideal professional, he was an embodiment of all virtues. He will remain a beacon light for not only music lovers, but also to all those who are blessed to be born in this country.

We at the Rafi Foundation feel it is a privilege to run this campaign for a path-breaker maverick who brings an unrequited joy to millions across the world. The humanity would be that much poorer not to acknowledge and appreciate his class act – stuff folklores are made of. For, honouring Mohammad Rafi is honouring humanity itself. 

Mohd Rafi

Mohd Rafi


May we again ardently appeal to you to confer the country’s highest award on him and do justice that he so eminently deserves. While the Government of Maharashtra has agreed in principle for the same, it will be creditable if the government in Delhi announces his name at the earliest.

We hope this time round the government corrects this wrong true to the dictum “Der aaye, durust aaye.”

Long live Mohammad Rafi.

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137 Blog Comments to “Why Mohammed Rafi Deserves Bharat Ratna”

  1. shammi says:

    Unfortunately the Indian government is corrupt and members that are usually on the board for selecting who should get the awards are too busy recommending their friends and relatives for the awards such as Lata Mangeshkar who said her sister Usha was worthy. How dare she make such a suggestion when the likes of Mohd Rafi whose fans have been fighting justice for years is sidelined. DISGUSTING, these awards are a joke!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    These awards have NO credibility at all. If they are not going to be awarded to the worthy then get rid of them.


  3. JAMEEL AHMED says:

    M Rafi sahib is a Miracle. No one can touch the hight equel to M Rafi sahib….
    All compititions are for number two and downward…

  4. Dear Sri/Smt Murthy Garu, Narayan sir, Khaja Bhai, Binu ji, Saifullah sahb and and my dear rafians,

    I am overwhelmed with your blessings and responses. I cannot remain without reciting rafi sahb’s lines…”Ye haseen phoolonki daaliyan, tumhe de rahii hai haseen phoolon ki daaliyan, tumhe derahii hai salaamiyan; MUJHE kyon na rashk ho hai rafians, aaphike saath, fasle bahaar hai…” Dear Murthy garu, I have preponed my coming back to Hyderabad to 4th November due to pressing works. We shall meet there and work out all India plans for getting the greatest honour due to Rafi sahb with the help and support of all the great rafians all over the world. Presently, I am in Detroit and contact nos. are 248 522 6033 and 248 895 2301. My Hyderabad no. is 939 100 5388. I will be glad to have the contact numbers. I wish Janab Dr. Khaja Aliuddin Sahb who is in Chicago to contact me immediately. Two days back, I just met a Pakistani couple in a restaurant in Canada who are Rafi fans and I presented them with a Rafi sahb’s selected melodies CD to them. On 1st November. 2009 I am singing 3 songs of rafi sahb at the Diwali Night at Central Michigan University auditorium being organised by my daughter persuing MS. I will be playing the key board my self accompanied by tabla by Vinod. 1. Jahan daal daal par sone ki…2. zindagi bhar nahin bhoolegi wo barsaat ki raat and 3. jaane bahar husn tera bemisaal hai. This is for your kind information and good wishes.

    Yours Sincerely,

    B. Ram Mohan Reddy

  5. Narayan says:

    Dear Rammohan garu,
    Adaab Rafi !
    You are doing a great yeoman service to all music lovers and Rafi sahab poojaris by taking a novel initiative by ur comment for Bharat Ratna for the only deserving one and that is none other than our dearest Rafi sahab…
    Thanks you sir

  6. Saifullah says:

    Dear Mr Reddy,

    Hats off to your efforts !!!!
    May God bless you with the energy to carry on with your efforts

    I am really impressed, Sir
    Once again , I salute you

    0097150 8891962

  7. unknow says:

    Sir Ram Mohan Reddy,
    As you planning for a 100 Motor Cycle Rally from Kashmir to Kanyakumari demanding for Bharat Ratna for greatest Mohd Rafi I think it will great job.
    North to south and east to west all our the world there are Mohd Rafi fans

  8. binu nair says:

    Hi ram mohan reddy saaheb: Post : 127….

    mohd rafi is not mohd gandhi………………..

    the governments have always given awards such as bharat ratna and dadasaheb phalke to some of their chamchas too for political motives
    and selfish interests. they have given to so many ratnas to politicians, pls check the list from the google . some of the politicians were dead and gone but still the govt gave them the ratnas.

    just think if mohd rafi was mohd gandhi, how many awards rafi saaheb would have got????
    lets have a “silent movement” so that this historic wrong could be corrected.

    I am always with u sir. ur idea is good. keep up the good show.

    binu nair, mumbai…..

  9. khaja Aliuddin, MD says:

    Janab Ram Mohan Reddy Saheb, Adab Araz hai,
    I really admire you for this big project. Your intentions are good, Almighty is on your side, please keep continue your efforts for our beloved Rafi Sahab. Being a Hyderabadi, I am proud of you. I am with you. Good luck.
    “Himmate mardan, madade khuda”
    regards to all Rafi lovers,
    Dr. Khaja Aliuddin,

  10. A S MURTY says:

    ramakrishna reddy garu, many thanks for your post 127 above. as soon as you return to Hyderabad we will work on this further. i understand that you will return around jan 2010 and it will be our pleasure to carry on the campaign much more vigorously with you.

  11. Dear Mr. Saifulla, A.S. Murthy garu, Binu Nair and Pvks Raju garu,

    I am really happy for your responses for my small efforts to bring the truth to the knowledge of the people of Hyderabad. As the fire is dormant in the hearts of all the people of India and world over, all of us Mohd. Rafi ardent fans of India and abroad will have to come forward in this autorickshaw and RTC buses in every state capital in India. I may inform that I have the experience and acumen in this area. As of now 100 autorickshaws are roaming in Hyderabad and Secunderabad with Mohd. Rafi photo and ofcoz my photo demanding Bharat Ratna to our beloved Rafi Sahb. I have been singing Rafi sahab’s songs ever since my age of 15 years. Presently I am in USA giving progrms of Mohd. Rafi songs. We should blast the sick mind set of our rulers by massive publicity. Our job gets much easier as number Rafi Fan Clubs are working in every place in the country. I am also planning for a 100 Motor Cycle Rally from Kashmir to Kanyakumari demanding Bharat Ratna to late Mohd. Rafi who is the one and only Indian Idol.


    B. Ram Mohan Reddy
    A.P. High Court Advocate

  12. pvksraju, mumbai says:

    reddy garu,
    kindly carry on the campaign with stickers on all autorickshaw(s) and buses for awareness among the public. Rafi saheb deserves the long over due bharat ratna. He has instilled different emotions in different sects of people of the indian sub continent during his lifetime. He showed his patrotism by singing true desh bhakt geet with remarkable ease. His romantic songs were also a treat to the ear and so were his pathos, as there were rendered very spontaneously. The best Rafi phase in Indian Music History as per my analysis is from 1958 to 1967 and again from 1972 to 1977. He gave his best in that phase. Generations have grown up listening to Rafi Saheb and Lataji singing. It is no exaggeration.. that emotions flowed out like a waterfall when he stood before the microphone. He was a gana gandharwa… musical angel. Such gandharwa(s) are rarely born. Let us all strive hard to call dearest Rafi Saheb… Bharat Ratna Late Mohd.Rafi Saheb. with best wishes for the campaign.

  13. binu nair says:

    Mohd Rafi Saaheb can only live – in the hearts of music lovers from generation to generations.

    Rafi is one of the tallest indian citizen to be born in our times. and, now he has become the “vishwa ratan” due to his greatest following across geographical boundaries and frontiers
    our govt is both deaf and dumb – so it seems, since personalities from pm to central ministers and opposition leaders often enjoy mohd rafi songs.

    but – they will never acknowledge rafi’s contribution to indian music and his role in national integration. this is one more – national tragedy.

    binu nair, mumbai

  14. A S MURTY says:

    Ram Mohan Reddy ji, hearty welcome to this site. We had formed the Rafi Foundation, Hyderabad Chapter last year and we hold musical sessions twice a month and our membership is growing. Since you are from Hyderabad itself, it would be great if we can meet and work together on the wonderful work that you are doing. Please do get in touch with me at 93912 67272 and my email id is :

  15. Saifullah says:

    reply to post no. 122
    Dear Mr Reddy,
    I was struck by one comment in your post – regarding Rafi Saab’s fan following in Malaysia. I was born and brought up in Malaysia and was there from 1962 to 1980
    I know how well the Malays loved Rafi Saab – his songs from Teesri Manzil, Dosti, Hum Kisise Kum Naheen etc used to be hummed by Malays who knew nothing about Hindi
    All his songs were so popular there, that cassettes containing his songs were selling hot cakes
    I have mentioned these movies here, because I still remember my school days when Malays ( my friends) used to hum songs from these movies.
    Rafi Saab is an institution, loved and adored by one an all, he is an international figure, if my English is correct in describing him.
    I am now in The UAE and you can see local Arabs who are crazy about Rafi Saab.
    Unfortunately, we Indians have not really realised his importance and his contribution to Hindi filmdom and Indian music as such..
    But, this should not deter us from our efforts to promote his legacy
    I salute you for the efforts you are taking in this line

  16. Sirs,

    There is no doubt that Mohd. Rafi deserved Bharat Ratna long time ago. He touched the hearts of his countrymen and people across the world. When I wnt to Malaysia, I saw people were listening to Mohd. Rafi. In India, the awards are reportedly given to chamchas and psychophants. Rafi sahab is above all these little souls. In Hyderabad, I have now started massive campaign with stickers on autorickshaws to confer Bharat Ratni to legendary (this is a small word for him) Mohd. Rafi on behalf of my political party named Telangana Yuva Shakti.

    B. Ram Mohan Reddy
    High Court Advocate

  17. Akram Baig says:

    Mohammed Rafi Saab is great 4ever

  18. sabnavees says:

    yes binu ji,

    if the committe is full of bhaiyyas then the doodhwala will also get padmabhushan to that extent. and its true at this time. you are right. its their level & they cant think above that.
    ham jo bhi baat karengey woh sab bhains ke samney been bajane wali hai. lekin mujhey yakeen hai ke ek din bhains bhee hamaree arjee manjoor karegi.

  19. savitaa says:

    whose loss is this anyway binuji,,,,if rafi sahab gets Bharat ratna,,,,it would enhance titles glory,,if not,,then ……………..

  20. Raju Korti says:

    ref post 116
    binuji, aapke mooh mein ghee shakkar

  21. vivek says:

    Has any name recommended for bharat ratna for 2009 still.

  22. binu nair says:

    Every Tom, Dick & Harry of our neighbourhood is nowadays getting the Padma Shri Award.

    I will not be surprised if my Milk Man too sports this award one of these – years.

    I am only too sure that mohd rafi saaheb would be “honoured” with the
    Bharat Ratna Award – this fast approaching jan. 26th

    Mark my words, all rafi lovers. my heart says this.

    binu nair,
    rafi foundation, mumbai
    dated : 9th June, 2009


    mere hisab se jo lata g ne khidmat ki hein unse kum khidmat rafi sahab ne bhi nahi ki hein. to phir kyo rafi sahab ko ye bharat ka khitab nhi diya jata jub lata g ko diya gya hei , kyo is desh ki govt. ko is baat ka khayal aata kyo sarkar rafi sahab ko uss nazar se dekhti hei jiss nazr se lata g ko, kya rafi sahab kuch kun kiya us desh k liye lata g se

  24. pmc thangal says:

    the article is nice but very difficult to understand for ordinary people like myself. it would have been much interesting if it write in simple english.indeed the position of rafi saab is beyond all singers. of course he is the emperor of all singers.according to famous singer k j jesudas rafi saab was not merely a singer, but he himself was an university of music.from this university any one could study different methods ,styles & moods of singing. if we take in to account the patriotic songs, bajans, devotioal songs, we can find rafi saab in its first place. he preaches through his songs the need of brother hood the song ..thu hindu banega ya musalmanu.. insanuuki aulad insan my simple openion rafi saab will not be honoured with this bhart ratna award due to the existance of dirty politics . the position may not be changed which ever party ruled india.

  25. Eijaz Sheikh says:

    Unfortunately, Politicians & Journalists in India are a “rotten” lot who for their own personal benefits (and not the benefit of the country as a whole), have gambled with our beloved country.

    We are racist, fanatic, indulgent lot who absorb whatever is dished to us. We hardly use our emotional intelligence to understand and imbibe what is right & what is wrong. There is a lack of respect for the GANDHI of India, and awards are bought at the drop of a hat. We are a BRAIN DRAINED people!

    Open any history book today and you hardly find any mention of the great freedom fighters; rather a bush or osama would dominate the page.

    Mohd. Rafi saheb was not only the greatest singer born, but also a great human being who has made India proud in his field. He is never-diminishing Star of India who has in times of sorrow, brought a smile on people’s faces through his melodious singing. People like him are born only once in a lifetime and there will never be a Mohd. Rafi born again on this earth!

    The Indian govt. should take sure steps to honour such people without any bias and honour him and the forgotten others with the Bharat Ratna Award.

  26. Is their any award in this universe worth the calibre & weight which can be bestowed or conferred upon our beloved king of melody the greatest — Mohammed Rafi
    Immediately after his sad demise we a few of his ardent admirers got together and had actualy started hunting all the near & dear politians ranging from Bandra (Mumbai) to Delhi but to our utter surprise & dismay a small junction at Bandra West was named as Mohammed Rafi Chowk
    Please note that at that time the CM was Mr Antulay, the Mayor was Mr Memon & Dilip Kumar was the Sherrif
    What has the Government done all these long years & what are we expecting from them in the near future is sheer foolishness
    The greatest honour for Rafi Saab I believe lies in the love & respect we have in our minds & blood and is worth a million Bharat Ratnas

  27. ram says:

    Let me recollect an incident. When rafi died in 1980 doordarshan aired a programme with naushad. Rafi sang some ten songs all melodious numbers and all of us watching young, old literally were crying.. Singers like rafi happen once in a lifetime. Everytime I think of rafi I am angry with God for taking him away….Bharat Ratna is for great people. Rafi was the greatest singer of all time…..Any award would be proud to have been possessed by rafi….ram

  28. Mukesh Kumar says:

    Dear all.

    Iam 33 years, i am listening to Rafi’s saab songs and since i was 10 years old. i remember once SPB other legendary singer said that there is no other singer can be like Rafi Saab. There are many instances where i have forgeten my pains listening to Rafi saab’s voice.

    I feel proud and honored for Rafi saab if Bharath Rathna.

    We are very fortunate to have such a nice person and Singer being a Indian. I shall pledge my full support for recommending a BR for Rafi Saab.

  29. unknow says:

    Sir shashank chickermane,
    I think Bharat Ratna so small for our Mohd Rafi, I will be happy if our Mohd rafi got any award but I think he is greater than any award.Mohd Rafi is a gift of god to Indian and all over the world..there are many great singers but Mohd Rafi was not only great singer but he was greater human as said by O P nayar and Naushand.
    religions made for peace but these days we changed it to kill each other…
    if we take out mohd rafi songs from bollywood i think there be only 30% of good songs in bollywood..
    they are so late to give mohd rafi Bharat ratna award boz all country feel that mohd rafi should get this award before great singer lata ji but not great human as we all know that

  30. Unknownji,
    Ref Post No: 99, I feel that u are feeling bad on this things. But try to get Bharat Ratna to Rafisahab. He is a genius and great playback singer in the film industry. please read the post no 86, wht i had written. if rafisahab will get the award then other singers also will get after sometime, but try 2 get this award at least. I feel rather than arguing abt who had written what, try to get as much as a word with the politicians.

    shashank chickermane

  31. Bhupinder says:

    ……being fan of Mohd Rafi, I am looking for this song, if anyone has it, could you please post it on this site. Many thanks.
    ‘Gulon ke rang, sitaronki roshni dedoon, tu kahe to chand taronki roshni dedoon’

  32. Bhupinder says:

    Well said post 100. Mohd Rafi was fully devoted to music. He did not discriminate any individual, or religion or caste. Although being a devote muslim, it is a great honour to have listened to him sing those bhajans and shabads, which only he could give full justification. He gave full 100% respect to each and every song/bhajan/shabad etc, that he sang. We should all respect Rafi sahib. No one can ever replace or come even any close to him ! We should be proud and fortunate, to have been able to listen to his beautiful melodious voice. No one can give what he gave to the music industry. He truly deserves every award for his unique talent.

  33. BINU NAIR says:

    mohd rafi ji respected all religions and never indulged in any kind of politics. please do not bring religion and politics here. these are personal choices and keep these things to yourselves please. if any singer has used political clout then it’s their problem. they stand exposed.

    binu nair.mumbai.

  34. Hussein Sheikh says:

    I fully agree to post 100. Very well described.

  35. BINU NAIR says:

    post no 99 mr. unknow: i promise you i have “stopped” reading your posts which are full of personal “prejudices” which i call the prejudiced views “alien to music” and mohd rafi saaheb.

    good bye…..

    binu nair,mumbai.

  36. akhtar says:

    its too late, the award should have been bestowed long back.

  37. unknow says:

    Sir sabnavees ,
    As you said true and I agree all you said, bharat ratna is a small token gift for Mohd Rafi,he is a vishwa ratna……

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