Mehdi Hasan is no more with us. But perhaps that is an incorrect way to put it. Because Mehdi Hasan will remain with us, as long as there are those who value the perfection that he represented - of classical skill and an indescribably mellow voice in singing, of deep knowledge of the classical raagas in composing, and a broad yet refined poetic sensibility in choosing the poetry to sing...
Rarely does all this come together at all...and yet Mehdi Hasan represented the combination of all this at its highest level. And in that sense, he was above all, the true Ghazal singer.
No wonder that a friend wrote to me about being devastated by this news...and also shared a wonderful and detailed article, linked here. What I particularly liked in this article was Mehdi Hasan's revelation of his own favourite ghazals:
-Zindagi mein to sabhi pyar kiya karten hai
-Gulon mein rang bhare
-Tu ne ye phool jo zulfon mein chhupa rakha
-Mujhe turn nazar se gira to rahe ho
-Pyar bhare do sharmeele nain.
Each one is a gem. My own debt to Mehdi Hasan is beyond description...listening to countless hours of his ghazals was an immersion into a unique world that not just resonated with, but also helped develop and refine my own poetry appreciation sensibility. A collection known as his "Finest Collection" was my long time companion.
I was glad to know that one of my own Mehdi Hasan favourites was among his own favourite list, and that is the one I recall today, to mark his remaining with us forever. I think this is one of the best examples of how the three things I mentioned above- singing, composing, and poetry- come together in a perfect blend. Even more interesting is that the composition was impromptu- on the spot in a live concert!
Tu ne ye phool jo zulfon mein chhupa rakha hai,
Ek diya hai jo andheron mei jalaa rakha hai...
Dil tha ek shola magar beet gaye din wo Qateel,
Ab kuredo na ise raakh mei kya rakha hai...