There would rarely be a ghazal admirer, who is unaware of Ustad Mehdi Hassan Khan. A name that became synonymous with ghazal, Ustad Mehdi Hassan Khan conquered the world with his baritone, yet, soft and haunting voice. If alive, the Shahenshah would have turned 91 today.

Born in British India, Ustad Mehdi Hassan Khan migrated to Pakistan after partition. Surviving financial crisis, the maestro worked as a mechanic at a motor shop, pursuing his passion and love for music. Soon he was inducted in a local radio station. Starting with Thumri singing, he soon became the most sought-after name for Ghazal singing.

In spite of the bitterness between two nations, Ustad Mehdi Hassan was adored by the Indian Ghazal loving community. There is not a singer in today’s as well as the previous two generations, who haven’t been inspired by the maestro. Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar always praised the divinity in his voice. They worked together for an album Sarhadein in 2010, which is one of his last works. The maestro left for his heavenly journey in 2013 after a long battle with the lung ailment.

His ghazals like Ranjish Hi Sahi and Gulon Mein are still a part of every Mehfil. The legend goes that when Mehdi Hassan sang the ghazal, Gulon Mein that was lived by one and all, Faiz Ahmed Faiz the author of the ghazal, announced that the ghazal belonged to the singer more than him.

As they say, the work of art of an artist is immortal; Ustad Mehdi Hassan continues to live through his art.