Kashmir Loses its legend 'Ghulam H. Sofi'

 

Kashmir Loses its legend 'Ghulam Hassan Sofi'
*Deepak Ganju
egendary Kashmiri singer, Ghulam Hassan Sofi, who ruled the hearts of music lovers in Kashmir for decades, died in oblivion after prolonged illness.

The 78-year-old visually impaired singer entertained millions of Kashmiris during his formidable years, singing heart rending light as well as folk music. Ghulam Hassan Sofi sang the lyrics of noted Kashmiri poets like Rasool Mir, Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor, Abdul Ahad, Wahab Khar, and Rajab Hamid. Songs like Chon Pakunuy Praznovmay dooriye (I can feel your steps from a distance) and Afsoos duniya Kansi na logh samsaar seitee (Alas! this world does not last for anyone ) were some of the famous songs that every Kashmiri knows and sings during get-togethers and parties. He may have died but his melody will live for ever.

He used to sing for All India Radio, Doordarshan Kendra, Song and Drama Division of Kashmir and the Cultural Academy.

I had an opportunity to listen to this great singer on Mehendiraat of my wedding celebrations in August 1980 at our residence at Malik Angan, Fateh Kadal, Srinagar. Little did I know at that time the class and the caliber of this great singer. Though he was visually impaired, he used to put his soul in his singing, squeezing his heart with his words. One could feel the melody of pain and emotions in his voice. He was one of the greatest talents from Kashmir. It is unfortunate that a talented artist of this caliber was abandoned by his fans and promoters and living in oblivion.

As a tribute to this great singer, I have created a video of his song "Chon Pakunuy Praznovmay dooriye" and also included some of his famous songs below.

According to Mr. B.K. Upmanyu "Sofi was, however, living in oblivion for past several years. After his throat lost grip on tunes and limbs weakened, he was deserted by his fans and promoters. Art and culture entrepreneurs, who have mushroomed in Kashmir after 1994, also left him in lurch. A close impoverished relative in Rainawari pocket of downtown offered shelter to the legend during his hard and testing years.In a conversation with media few years ago, the singer complained that nobody was coming forward to help him despite his pleas. He accused several composers of plagiarising his songs and tunes."

Famous Kashmiri Singer Arti Tickoo Kaul in her tribute said: "Such a sad news... One of my favorite singers who took Kashmiri folk music to great heights, blending his melodious renditions with natural depth, expression and an innovative style that appealed to all types of listeners. The loss of sight empowered him to feel every word that he sang and touch the hearts that he could not see! God bless his soul."
Collection of some Audio songs from Ghulam Hassan Sofi
Courtesy Chandramukhi Ganju

Afsoos duniya Kansi na logh samsaar seitee

Yina chuna Duniya Rojun vol

Chon Pakunuy Prajnovmay dooriye

Chani Bartal ravyam rache Aawaaz achey no

Che loguth soram chachman Mey koratham Dil ubalyi

Rojoo roju Boju miyen
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