Renowned singer Iqbal Bahu passed away in Lahore on Saturday after complaining of chest pains. He was 65. He was known for his singing of Arfana kalam (devotional songs).
Born in Gurdaspur, Indian Punjab‚ Bahu migrated to Pakistan after partition and settled in Lahore. After completing his education, he worked in National Bank. Bahu had mastered the Sufi tradition of well-known Sufi saint Sultan Bahu and had great command over folk songs as well mystical and devotional poetry.
But the kalam of Sufi poet Baba Bulley Shah was his claim to fame and his name was changed from Muhammad Iqbal to Iqbal Bahu. His most popular kalams are ‘Alaf Allah Chumby Dee Booti’ and ‘Maain Ne Main Kino Aakhan’. To perfect his singing of the Sufi kalam, he is believed to have sought the help of language experts in order to pronounce the words accurately.
Bahu performed for the radio, on stage, and the television in Pakistan as well as in European countries. On March 14, this year, he travelled to India to perform his Sufiana and Arfana kalam in Lucknow and returned to Lahore on March 20. Since his return, Bahu had been suffering from a cough.
On Friday, he was taken to the Punjab Institute of Cardiology where a report of his angiography was positive. He was later shifted to the Services Hospital where he expired during the course of treatment.
Bahu leaves behind his wife, three daughters and two sons. The soyem will be held at his residence in Allama Iqbal Town, Lahore after Zuhr prayers.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 25th, 2012.
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