Mehdi Hassan Khan is also known as the King of Ghazals and Khan Sahab. He was a Pakistani singer, who was born in Luna in Rajasthan on July 18, 1927. He was also known for his composition skills. Hassan, noted for his deep baritone voice that could shake up the listener’s soul, had singularly managed to put ghazals on the world stage.He has been the inspiration for famous singers like and
. He was born and raised in a musical family that had been singing for almost sixteen generations!
He had the opportunity to have been trained by his father and uncle, who were Dhrupad singers. He started giving performances at a very young age. During partition, Hassan had to move to Pakistan, and he faced a lot of financial constraints due to the ravages of the partition. He started working as a cycle mechanic, and slowly graduated to car and tractors, but despite everything, he never gave up his passion for singing. Finally, in 1957, Mehdi received the opportunity to sing on the Radio Pakistan, but his primary role was of that of a thumri singer.
He dazzled everyone with his performance, and soon he became associated with the entire thumri genre of music. During the same period, he began his experimentation with ghazals. His performance of Gulo mein rang bhare, baad-e-Nau baharchale, was so magical that he sky-rocketed to fame. Due to a severe illness, in the year 1980, he took a break from playback singing, but since he could not recuperate from the ailment any further, he completely quit it. As a matter of fact, his health deteriorated so drastically that he had to undergo suffering for more than even a decade.
After battling with multiple issues, which includes lung conditions, urinary tract and chest diseases, Hassan finally succumbed to his illness and departed from this planet on June 13, 2012. He was 84 years old. Many musical greats offered their condolences and paid their heartfelt tributes to him. He got bestowed with the title of Shahanshah-e-Ghazal. He was survived by fourteen children, out of which, six of his sons are currently active in the field of music.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has conferred upon him a lot many awards and titles. The beauty of Hassan’s music was such that it had not been bound by any borders, nor restricted by any country. He had as many fans in India, as he had in Pakistan. Even India’s Nightingale,
, commented as to how he sings as though God himself resides in his throat. Despite all his fame and glamor, Hassan lived a life of complete and utter humility, which was carried on even after his death when he got buried in a simple procession in Jinnah’s mausoleum.