75-year old artist, already physically challenged after being incapacitated in a landmine explosion at Line of Control (LoC), suffered a stroke last weekend, and has been since hospitalized, with his spouse attending him in the male medical ward.
SKZN Deputy Medical Superintendent Dr Nauman Manzoor Butt has been sensitizing media and government functionaries about the plight of the acclaimed artist, who has won laurels for his performance not only at home but also in many parts of the world, including Japan and Germany.
However, except for PaK Legislative Assembly Deputy Speaker Shaheen Kausar Dar, hardly anyone has found time to visit Rather, and alleviate sufferings of the issueless couple.
Dar has reportedly also recommended for appointment of a permanent male attendant with Rather, after it was pointed out to her by Dr Butt.
However, while expressing gratitude to the deputy speaker, Rather told Greater Kashmir; “Even if they do not do anything, I have no grudges against anyone. Allah gave me whatever He thought was good for me.”
Born in Hayatpura in district Budgam, Rather started his career in singing at a very tender age. In 1965, when he crossed the dividing line, like all other Kashmiris, he was a known singer at Radio Srinagar.
In PaK, Rather exhibited his singing skills at the nascent “Azad Kashmir Radio Muzaffarabad” (AKRM), where later in July 1969 he was inducted as a staff artist. He retired from AKRM in grade-VII, equivalent to grade-18 in civil services, in July 1994.
However, he maintained his association with AKRM against a consolidated contract of Rs 6000 per month until 2012.
Rather was a household name not only in Kashmiri speaking circles but also among all music lovers, for being not only a melodious singer but also a Rubab player par excellence.
His singing skills, as well as that of his contemporaries, were fostered and polished in the days of ace broadcaster Muhammad Saeed Naqshbandi, who served as Station Director AKRM in eighties. A migrant from Srinagar, Naqshbandi was enamored of poesy, fine arts and music and thus an inborn patron of artists.
Rather’s track “Walo Ha Bagvano”, penned by Kashmir’s legendary poet Ghulam Ahmed Mahjoor, is the signature song of a famous Kashmiri programme Naubahar. It is popular on both sides of the divide.
“There (in Jammu and Kashmir) we could not sing revolutionary songs. When I came here, I sang it at the Azad Kashmir Radio for the first time,” he murmured.
In his conversation with this correspondent, Rather broke down many a times recollecting how he used to perform in private and public functions and how avidly people would listen to him on both sides of the divide and elsewhere.
He got “Pride of Performance” award from president Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1989 for his exemplary contribution to Kashmiri music.
“Now, I have only one desire. I should perform by the banks of Dal Lake (in Srinagar),” he said with tearful eyes.
Syed Arif Bahar, a noted Kashmiri writer, lamented that the governments are in the habit of paying tributes to legends only after their demise.
“We should look after such people in their lifetime, that is when they need attention badly,” he said.
Source: Greater Kashmir,Srinagar - 20th feb 2015