The last few weeks have not been good. Its one bad news after the other. The fiasco of the Chief Justice’s removal; government high-handedess with protesting lawyers and then the media; Pakistan being kicked out of the Cricket World Cup; Bob Woolmer’s death in what we now know to be a murder; Inzimam’s retirement; and, now, I just heard that Nisar Bazmi has died.
According to The Daily Times:
Nisar Bazmi, one of PakistanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s greatest music composers, passed away at around midnight on Thursday at the Aga Khan University Hospital. He was 83. Bazmi had been re-admitted about a week earlier with kidney problems amongst others. Last month, Daily Times had interviewed an extremely weak Bazmi when he was earlier admitted to the same hospital with heart problems. While doctors had advised him against talking too much, he could not help but express his love for music. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œI want to be involved with music till my last breath,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? he said. ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œMeri saansein moseeki se bandhi hui hain. Mere rag rag me surkha samandar behta he.ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚? Bazmi said that in his opinion, not even Lata could match Noor JehanÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s voice. Born in 1924, in Bombay, India, to a family with no musical inclination, BazmiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s interest in the art caught the eye of Khan Saheb Aman Ali Khan who taught the talented 13-year-old. He worked for All India Radio but swept into the limelight in 1944 with some songs he composed for the drama ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Nadir Shah DurraniÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. His career spanned 40 films during which time he composed for Runa Laila, Noor Jehan and Mehdi Hassan. He won numerous awards as best composer.
Bazmi sahib’s death is, of course, not comparable to the other events – he had been sick, he lived a full life of a rich and long life that deserves to be celebrated. But his passing leaves a hole in the heart just like the passage of poets Ahmad Nadeem Qasmi and Munir Niazi had.
I had the pleasure of meeting him a few times and interviewing him on television once. He was a sweet and wonderful man; much like his music. From his demeanor one would not have guessed the classics he had composed: which included, ‘aise bhi hain mehrban‘ (Ahmad Rushdie), ‘kuchh loag rooth kar bhi‘ (Ahmad Rushdie), ‘Abhi dhoond hi rahi thi‘ (Noor Jahan), ‘Kaatay na katay‘ (Runa Laila), ‘Ranjish hi sahi‘ (Mehdi Hassan), ‘Bol re guriya bol‘ (Nayarra Noor), ‘Hum chale to humaray‘ (Alamgir), and many many more.
Probably my all-time favorite song from him is the national song Yeh Watan Tumhara Hai by Medhi Hasan. The best video version of the song is the latest one which you can view here, and about which I had written here. Unfortunately, the version found on YouTube is probably the least interesting one of the three versions I know of. It is, nonetheless, very inspiring. Especially today, on Pakistan Day.
One of his great film hits, kuch loag rooth kar bhi…
And this Alamgir classic, hum challey tou humaray sang sang nazaray…
One of Mehdi Hasan’s great ghazals, ranjish hi sahi, which was once a movie song