Imran Khan is one of the finest cricketers of Pakistan. He has the honor of bringing the World Cup home in 1992 as he was the captain of the victorious team.
Imran Khan was basically a fast bowler; his association with the Australian Kerry Packers honed his bowling skills and speed. Imran later perfected his batting and in the later stage of his career emerged as an all-rounder; deadly with the ball, lethal with the bat. He could effectively swing the ball and deliver deadly bouncers to scare his opponents. With Imran on one end and fellow fast bowler Sarfraz Nawaz at the other, Pakistan always stood a chance of a comprehensive victory.
Although Imran has bowled well throughout his career but captaincy brought out the best in him. He is one of the most successful captains of Pakistan. Under his captaincy, Pakistan won the series against England on the English soil with Imran Khan excelling with 10 wickets for 77 runs in the decisive Healingley match. Pakistan managed to draw series against West Indies who at that time annihilated their opponents completely. His team was also victorious against arch rivals India on many occasions. The climax of Imran’s career remains the victory in the 1992 World Cup Tournament. Pakistan emerged as underdogs to clinch the crystal trophy. Imran Khan announced his retirement from cricket after the World Cup and concentrated on the building of a cancer charity hospital; the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital named after his mother who lost her life battling against the deadly disease.
Imran Khan was always in the news for some reason or the other. His charismatic personality won him many female fans. Imran married an English girl half his age in 1995. The couple had two sons but sadly could not live happily ever after mostly due to the yawning cultural gap between the two.
Imran has received Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Pakistani civilian award), the President’s Pride of Performance Award and many other awards and honors. He has been inducted in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame and stands 8th on the list of all time greats of the ESPN Legends of Cricket. Imran is one of the eight all-rounders of the world to have achieved the Triple in Tests matches with 3807 runs and 362wickets.
Imran Khan later turned to politics and launched Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, a political party with the aim of redressing the grievances of the Pakistani people.
Mehdi Hassan the legendary ghazal singer is the pride of Pakistan. Mehdi Hassan was born in Luna Rajasthan, India in 1927. He belonged to a family with rich musical roots, the Kalawant clan of musicians. Both his father and paternal uncle were dhrupad singers. Mehdi Hassan’s family migrated to Pakistan after partition.
Life was not easy and for some time Mehdi Hassan had to work as an auto mechanic to support his family. Mehdi Hassan got his first break on Radio Pakistan Karachi in 1952. Slowly he made a name for himself and in 1962 fame finally came to him when his ghazal “Gullon mein rung bharay” became immensely popular. From then onwards there was no turning back for the maestro; he was to rule the music industry for decades to come.
Mehdi Hassan was passionate about music and poetry. His command over the various raags and his deep understanding of the poetry made his ghazals so outstanding. He added a new dimension in ghazal singing. He composed the ghazal in the raag which best suited the mood of the ghazal. Even today no singer in the sub continent can match his low notes. Mehdi Hassan was the main playback singer from the 60s to the 80s. He also performed on television and in private functions. Mehdi Hassan has won a great number of awards both nationally and internationally. Lata Mangeshkar the iconic Indian singer paying glowing tributes to the Shahenshah-e- Ghazal Mehdi Hassan compared his voice to that of Bhagwan (God).
Mehdi Hassan’s popularity can be judged from this anecdote. While singing in the court of King Birendra of Nepal, Mehdi Hassan forgot a line of his song, “Zindagi mein to sub he piyar kiya karte hain”; the King got up and sang the line; a great honor for the singer indeed.
Failing health made him give up singing but Mehdi Hassan has carved a name for himself which will not be erased by time or tide.
Ghazal is a genre of music very popular in South Asia especially Pakistan and India. The poets usually expressed their undying love and the cold response from the beloved in beautiful words. Later poets also made social issues a topic of their poetry. The beauty of ghazal is further enhanced if sung well.
Pakistan is lucky to have many talented ghazal singers; Tina Sani is one of them. Tina was born in Dhaka and lived in Kabul before settling in Karachi. Tina’s forte is rendition of ghazal in both classical and semi classic music. She was trained in classical music by Ustad Nizamuddin Khan and then by Ustad Amrohvi. Tina started her singing career by recording a jingle for an advertisement little did she know that she would become a celebrated ghazal singer later on.
Tina Sani was influenced by the great ghazal singers of like Malika Pukhraj, Akhtar Begum, Mukhtar Begum and Farida Khanum but has created her own style of singing. Over the years she has emerged as a mature artist who is constantly working on improving herself. Every new song is a step towards perfection. She dazzles the listeners with every word and every note she delivers. She renders the ghazals of contemporary poets with ease and is equally comfortable singing the poetry of Zauq, Ghalib and Mir; the immortals of Urdu poetry.
Tina Sani received the Pride of Performance Award from the government of Pakistan. Tina continues to enthrall the audience with her melodious voice.
Farida Khanum the iconic ghazal singer of Pakistan was born in 1935 in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the pre partitioned India. She was brought up in the city of Amristar.
She showed inclination towards music from an early age and used to accompany her elder sister Mukhtar Begum to Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan’s place where she (Mukhtar Begum) went for riyaaz (practice of classical music).
Mukhtar Begum was more than a sister to Farida Khanum; he was also her first teacher of classical music. From the tender age of seven, Farida Khanum learnt khayal from her sister. Later under Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan’s guidance she perfected her singing skills.
She chose to migrate to Pakistan when India was partitioned in 1947. Farida Khanum’s first public appearance was in 1950. She later sang for the Radio Pakistan; her deep rich voice ruled over the hearts of Pakistanis and fans across the border for years. Even today her melodious voice and her perfect rendition of ghazals remain unmatched.
When on stage her majestic presence, her total command over the classical raags and her style of delivering the lyrics really overawes the audience; after all she is the Malika e Ghazal (Queen of Ghazals).
Farida Khanum was awarded the Hilal-e- Imtiaz by the Pakistani government in 2005. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh honored her with the Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award in 2005 too.
At the age of 74, Farida Khanum still exudes the same charm and magic when she sings. Farida Khanum is a living legend, a strong pillar on which the Pakistani music industry stands.