Mohammed Rafi: 24 December 1924 – 31 July 1980
Rafi UK Interview 1979
The one room memorial of famous singer Mohammad Rafi stands neglected at his native village, Kolta Sultan Singh, in Amritsar.
About three decades after his death, playback singer Mohammad Rafi still rules the hearts of millions, especially in his native place of Kotla Sultan Singh, 35 kilometres from Amritsar.So deep is the regard for him, that Rafi’s friends and fans now want a music academy to be built in his name.
They believe the State Government should take the initiative in view of his huge contribution to the world of music. His childhood friends say such a step would be a just tribute the legendary singer.
Observing his 27th death anniversary here on July 31, Rafi’s friends organised a small function at his village (Kotla Sultan Singh).
Rich tribute was paid to the renowned singer, with some of his fans singing his melodies of yesteryears.
Santokh Singh, a childhood friend, said: “When we organised a fair on February 28, 2007, many celebrities, including BJP MP Navjot Singh Sidhu attended the function. He had announced a package of Rs.22 lakh for establishing a music academy, but we haven’t received a penny of it.”
Villagers, in the meanwhile, have erected a gate and instituted a computer laboratory in Rafi’s memory.
Savinder Singh, a villager, said: “We want a music academy in our village where youth not only from our village, but also from nearby places, would learn music. We request the Government to establish this academy so that the village also become well-known around the world.” Rafi’s friends were aggrieved that some of Rafi’s memories have already been removed by the administration.
Kundan Singh, another friend, said: “Mohammad Rafi had engraved his name on a mango tree with a knife in a mango garden here. He had said that it will remind us about him, when would he was no more in this world. Now, that tree has been chopped off.”
According to the members of the village council, they have allotted an acre of land for the academy.
Rafi sang songs in many languages, including Hindi, Marathi and Telugu. He is chiefly remembered for his Bollywood songs.
After Rafi’s death, in its 1984 edition, the Guinness Book of Word Records stated Lata Mangeshkar’s name for the “Most Recordings” but also stated: “Mohammad Rafi (d 1 Aug 1980) claimed to have recorded 28,000 songs in 11 Indian languages between 1944 and April 1980.”
Many fans of Rafi state that he has sung over 28,000 songs. However, according to the available figures, Rafi has sung 4,516 Hindi film songs, 112 non-Hindi film songs, and 328 private (non-film) songs from 1945 to 1980.The Guinness Book entries for both Rafi and Lata were later removed in 1991.