Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mohammed Rafi must get the Bharat Ratna Award.


Unfortunately, except for his millions of fans there is no one who wishes to really take up Rafi Sahaab’s cause with the high and mighty or powerful people in the Indian government’s corridors.

We have the apologists who say he did get his due. Naturally, such a group is not really aware of the genius of Rafi Sahaab and his colossal contribution to songs and music in the sub-continent and the world. Evidently, this group to a small extent consists of people who don’t want to ruffle the feathers of those in authorities – the excuse being that the government has better things to do.

Then we come to the group which consists of mostly Rafi Sahaab's fans who feel hurt that not enough recognition has been given to Rafi Sahaab. The Indian government forgot Rafi Sahaab after conferring on him the Padma Shri way back in 1965. This award could have been ignored by Rafi Sahaab. But humble that he was, Rafi Sahaab accepted it. Lata Mangeshkar had chosen not to receive this award. Rafi Sahaab has not been conferred even the prestigious Dada Saheb Phalke Award that was introduced in 1969. Lata Mangeshkar received this award in 1990 and Asha Bhonsle ten years later. But Rafi Sahaab's name is no where in the reckoning despite the fact that he passed way on 31st July 1980 and this Award can be conferred posthumously too.

The next-in rank governmental awards such as Padma Bhushan or Padma Vibhushan have still not been conferred, while the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, appears to be a distant dream. Bharat Ratna Award is given for exceptional service in the field of art, literature or science or in recognition of outstanding Public Service. It was seven years ago that this award was conferred. Even as late as January 2008 we find intense lobbying for the Bharat Ratna Award being conducted by such powerful persons as L.K. Advani and his BJP Party in favour of the erstwhile Prime Minister of India, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee. While Mayawati, the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh (a province in India) is lobbying in favour of her deceased mentor, Kanshi Ram. Ratan Tata, the Controller of the 22 Billion Dollars Tata Group (original entrepreneurs of India) seems to be also in the running especially after coming out with his One-Lakh car (about 2500 U.S. Dollars) NANO. Not to speak of young cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar’s name and those of others also being suggested for the award. Is there any one in the government circles lobbying on behalf of the Priceless Gem of India the Legendary Singer Rafi Sahaab? How can the Indian government forget him? Do they really want that someone from the Ministry should lobby for him? It is high time that belittling of the Bharat Ratna Award is stopped. The Central Government Ministries must wake up from their selective amnesia and bestow the Bharat Ratna on Rafi Sahaab for his great contribution in the
field of songs and music.

Many will of course say that Rafi Sahaab is not in need of any award. True. But that doesn't mean that the concerned authorities can wash their hands off their responsibility in not recognizing the genius of Rafi Sahaab. Lata Mangeshkar was given the Bharat Ratna Award in 2001. Have they forgotten the immortal BAPU JI KI AMAR KAHAANI which Rafi rendered in 1948 itself bringing tears to the first Prime Minister of India, Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru? While the current Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, feels that it is too early to decide about the Bharat Ratna Award, let him listen to Rafi Sahaab's thousands of songs that delighted the millions. He and those in the authority will be convinced that Rafi Sahaab is second to none and that he rightfully deserved the Bharat Ratna.



  1. Rafi was a sensation in the history of playback singing and SJ acknowledged his talent over the years.

  2. Great article on a topic that is close to our hearts too Mr. Nasir. Please also read my blog http://rafimurty.blogspot.com/ and my articles on www.mohdrafi.com, www.eternalrafi.com and www.rafi.co.in . Also, I often post my comments on the blogsite of Mr. Souvik Chatterjee who has also commented on your article here. Please be in touch at rafimurty@gmail.com or asmurty2@rediffmail.com THANKS.