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Kashmiri singer Ghulam Hassan dies
The 78-year-old blind singer Ghulam Hassan Sofi entertained millions of people during his formidable years, singing heart rending light-music numbers. People compared his melodious voice with that of Muhammad Rafi in tone and style.
NOTED KASHMIRI singer Ghulam Hassan Sofi, who ruled the hearts of music lovers for decades, died in oblivion and penury due to prolonged illness. Mushrooming art and culture entrepreneurs immediately went into obituary mode, least realising that the singing legend had lost his sight almost 15 years back.

The 78-year-old blind singer entertained millions of people during his formidable years, singing heart rending light-music numbers. People compared his melodious voice with that of Muhammad Rafi in tone and style. For the past 44 years of his singing career, he was mostly listened from Radio Kashmir but also performed on stage on contracts from state and Central departments.

Sofi sang the lyrics of noted Kashmiri poets Ghulam Ahmad Mehjoor, Abdul Ahad Azad, Wahab Khar, Rasool Mir and Rajab Hamid. Rajab Hamid’s Afsoos duniya Kansi na logh samsaar seiti (Alas, this world has not proven everlasting for anybody) gave him enviable fame among his contemporaries.

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 nedia 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.

Cultural organisations along with the State-run Academy of Art Culture and Languages, started issuing condolence messages as soon as his death was pronounced by his relatives. So much was the hurry in issuing statements that the academy declared him dead when he had only slipped into comatose two days ago.

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