ISLAMABAD: Prominent classical singer and vocalist Ustad Fateh Ali Khan passed away on Wednesday at the age of 81. Ustad Fateh Ali Khan was suffering from lung disease since the past two weeks. His body will be shifted to Lahore where he will be laid to rest.
Ustad Fateh Ali Khan was the younger of the singing duo Amanat Ali and Hamid Ali Khan, who enjoyed immense success in Pakistan as well as India until the demise of Amanat Ali Khan.
They were trained by their father Akhtar Hussain Khan, who was also a distinguished vocalist in the princely state of Patiala, British India. He was uncle of classical singer Asad Amanat Ali Khan.
Amanat Ali and Fateh Ali became celebrities while still in their teens in British India, and were conferred the Pride of Performance Award in 1969.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has expressed grief and sorrow over the death of legendary classical singer Ustad Fateh Ali Khan.
He extended his condolences to the bereaved family. "Ustad Fateh Ali Khan held a unique place in classical music and his talent will always be remembered," he was quoted as saying.
Ustad Fateh had been under treatment at Islamabad’s PIMS Hospital for the past 10 days. Born in 1935 in Patiala, he and his elder brother Amanat Ali Khan became the Maharaja’s chosen singers, at his darbar or court.
Being paid the handsome amount of Rs 100 per month in the year 1946, he grew up in an environment where music was valued. He was the sixth generation in his family devoted to classical singing. He was joined by his brothers, the late Amanat Ali Khan and Hamid Ali Khan, in keeping the family legacy alive. His sons Rustom and Sultan teach classical music in Lahore and Islamabad.
He was also the paternal uncle of classical/rock singer Shafqat Amanat Ali and the late Asad Amanat Ali. None of the awards carried any means of livelihood with them. Still, he maintained, "I would live my life exactly the same, if I had another life."
Ustad Fateh gained fame for Pakistan in US, India, Canada, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, France, Norway, Afghanistan, Nepal and spent his life singing and teaching classical music. His students were spread all over the world, from the US, London, Germany, Norway, Switzerland to India and Pakistan.
According to his brother Hamid Ali Khan, Ustad Fateh’s funeral prayers will be offered in Lahore today (Thursday).
Renowned singer/songwriter Shafqat Amanat Ali Tweeted, "Today marks the end of an era for all of us here at #PatialaGharana as the doyen #UstadFatehAliKhan Sahib has left us for his heavenly abode."