MULTAN: Music, aptly dubbed food for the soul, has always managed to sway even the most unbelieving of hearts. In the same way, the soulful voice and dulcet tone of Mehdi Hassan have won the hearts of the people of Multan.
Belonging to a small village located in the suburbs of Multan district, Hassan has won several national awards for his music so far including being crowned the winner of the Punjab Youth Festival 2013 as well as being recognised by Bahauddin Zakariya University (BZU) for promoting music. “Mehdi Hassan Sahab is who I aspire to be,” he says. The fact that we both share the same name makes it seem like fate, he muses. He shares that he enrolled in BZU’s mass communication department seven years ago. “There is no other institute in the district for learning music,” he says. After passing my intermediate exams, I enrolled in the Bachelor’s programme.
Hassan’s love for music was so apparent that many of the students and faculty members remember him bicycling around school and practicing musical notes. He adds that he has primarily learnt music from Master Shabbir Ahmed Usmani and Master Naveed Bhatti, who have contributed in polishing his skills.
He maintains that he has primarily learnt music on his own. So far, he has trained 1,700 students. During his time at the varsity, Hassan also laid the foundation for BZU’s very own musical society. Under the mentorship of Professor Tahir Mehmood, Hassan started this society. He explains that the musical society started with only a handful of students and has reached 2,270 members by now.
The society’s Patron-in-Chief Professor Tahir Mehmood states that the mass communication department has provided him and his students a room to practice and learn music, he says. Hassan says that donations from other citizens have helped him to teach other musicians. “Our institutions are not supporting local singers. The only recognition they receive is from the people,” he adds. The government should encourage talented students and should provide them with opportunities to fulfil their dreams.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 20th, 2019.
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