ISLAMABAD: Lok Virsa Executive Director Dr Fouzia Saeed while paying rich tribute to legendary singer Aziz Mian Qawwal for his extraordinary services in the field of Qawwali said that he would be remembered forever for record singing of Qawwali, and Lok Virsa would arrange more such events to pay homage to senior artists of the country. “Most of our younger generations are ignorant about the ‘Sufi Kalaam’ and this would be the best way to educate them about it,” she added. Aziz Mian Qawwal was born in Delhi, India on April 17, 1942. He migrated to Pakistan in 1947 and began learning the art of Qawwali at the age of ten and later underwent sixteen years of training at the Data Ganj Baksh School of Lahore. He got degrees in Urdu literature, Arabic and Persian from the University of Punjab, Lahore. He was famous for his unique style of Qawwali and soon became one of the most popular qawwals of South Asia. Adopting ‘Mian’ as his stage name he used to introduce himself as Aziz Mian Mairthi. Mairthi refers to Meerut, a city in northern India, from which he migrated to Pakistan in 1947. He is responsible for the longest commercially released qawwali, ‘Hashr Ke Roz Yeh Poochhunga,’ which runs slightly over 115 minutes. His break-out performance was in 1966 when he performed before the Shah of Iran, Muhammad Reza Pahlavi. He won first prize and a gold medal from the Shah of Iran. In the early days of his career, he was nicknamed Fauji Qawwal (meaning “Military Qawwal”) because most of his early stage performances were in military barracks for army personnel. The government of Pakistan had awarded him the Pride of Performance medal in 1989. Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2017.