Nusrat’s friends as per Dr Buad: According to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s biographer, Dr Buad, the singer spent most of his time with close family members. At the same focal level, these were his qawwali party men, which included his younger brother, Farrukh, and for a long time his cousin , Mujahid Mubarak, as well as his bother-in-law and other cousins. Regarding his obesity, over eating has been over emphasised. The disease was genetic. Dr Buad heard Nusrat live in Central Park, New York, in the late 90s. The impact of hearing his qawwali live was unforgettable for him. He did not get the same impact when he heard Nusrat on CD as it did not carry the same inspiration. In the old days, the LP’s and records carried the full range of the singer’s voice; from the lowest to the highest pitch. Now CDs use stabilisers and other devices (for recording) and only capture the middle range of highs and lows. So you don’t get the full drama, power and passion of the vocalist.My humble opinion: In my humble opinion, Nusrat was a great host. Whenever I visited his house in Faisal Town near Akbar Chowk, I found many admirers, poets, friends etc, sitting around him and he sitting on harmonium composing tunes of lyrics. He even composed two tunes for me (lyrics by Hassan Rizvi) but left their recording abroad –it was not meant to be. My friends tell me that he used to treat all his visitors to meals whenever they visited him whether in Pilot Hotel, Bhatti Chowk, Lahore or in Faisalabad. Regarding foreigners, he was a sort of a major go-between, between European contemporary identity and their larger Sufi/spiritual/mystic individual soul, projected towards the Universal, the One. Two decades ago there was a controversy about one scion of Patiala Gharana criticising Nusrat Khan’s use of sargams. Naturally he responded to this criticism. In order to ease out the tension I hosted a party at Shezan Hotel, Mall Road, Lahore. Nusrat came to the party as did other musicians, poets and media people but not a single representative came from the Patiala Gharana. The issue died its own death with passage of time.Views: The following views are taken from the information available in the media as per Dr Buad. Mian Yousuf Salli – socialite/philanthropist“Well, I think what stands out when you look at Nusrat is his devotion to Sufism. Qawwali as an art-form has a long history, and was used as a tool to bring people towards Islam. His family had a 400-year-old history, with the art. I think for me what stands out is that he was the first real star to have come out of South Asia who was truly international. Madonna and Pavarroti wanted to record albums with him, Mick Jagger had come to Lahore to listen to him and there was a massive following across the globe.He performed as a traditional Qawwal for many years initially but could not attain the status of his father and uncle. It was really, Imran Khan who was then raising funds for his hospital that changed things. Performing at those fundraisers, he met great musicians such as Peter Gabriel, Eddie Vedder and his reputation as an artist became global. This is his real impact, in such a short span he was the most popular Pakistani and the biggest celebrity to make an impact from South Asia.” Sahir Ali Bagga- musician“An underrated aspect about Nusrat Saheb is his ability as composer which most people tend to forget. On a broader level, modern music needed Nusrat, not the other way around. He was a complete package and had very different vocals, which appealed to a lot of people who collaborated with him. He was a very good teacher and understood how to impart that knowledge to others. I come from a family of composers and instrumentalist myself, but Nusrat’s work as composer was very natural. Most composers have to think of a beat while composing the melody but for him this was inherent. I know R. D. Burman has used a lot of his work and A. R. Rahman is heavily influenced by him too.”Ahmad AqeeL Ruby- academician/writerHe wrote the book ‘Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: A living legend, Words of Wisdom, in 1992.’“Unlike many musicians or individuals who consider music as something that is part-time, Nusrat was the complete artist, from top to bottom. His index finger would move in a rhythmic motion even when he was asleep. That was his genius, he was always lost in composition and music consumed his life.He was a very straight-forward and kind individual who generously shared his craft and never paid heed to the commercial side of his career. In fact, I recall his manager at Alhamra asking him to take more of an interest because many people would make money from his music without giving his share. It was also known that he had composed a few songs for Bollywood and received something like Rs18 as payment but he was never bitter. Music was part of his blood and all that mattered.”Popularity: From the above discourse it is but natural to state that Nusrat’s popularity skyrocketed sky high in the 90s. One of his achievements was that he served as a visiting artist in the Ethnomusicology department at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 92–93. Over the span of his career, he released many albums and worked on the soundtracks of numerous films on an international level. He worked with Canadian musician Michael Brook on the albums ‘Mustt Mustt’ (1990) and ‘Night Song’ (1996). Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan sang for, and performed in several Pakistani and Indian films. Some of the songs he sang for Indian films include ‘Koi Jane Koi Na Jane’, ‘Saya Bhi Saath Jab Chhor Jaye’, and ‘Dulhe Ka Sehra’. He also contributed the song ‘Gurus of Peace’ to the Indian album ‘Vande Mataram’ which was released to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of India’s independence.There exist mixed opinions about Nusrat being a versatile artist. Many feel that he was a good qawwal. Many feel he was a very good music composer. Some feel his voice was thin and shrieking on higher notes. But all in all, God was extra kind to him. He made Pakistan proud whenever and wherever he went in the globe especially in India.Nusrat in Bollywood: Nusrat became popular among Indian filmgoers through a copying of one of his many masterful renditions by Viju Shah. It was a dance number ‘Tu Cheez Bari Hai Mast Mast’ from the blockbuster ‘Mohra’ (94). Nusrat’s catchy tune was lifted but the spiritual lyrics were replaced by commercial lyrics ‘Dum Mast Qalandar Mast Mast’. Instead of a group of seated qawaals willing themselves into a trance, one got jarring dance moves. The Indian cinema fans feel jittery about this introduction. The fact of the matter is that Nusrat was first introduced by music composer Khayyam about thirteen years before the release of ‘Mohra’. It was in the film ‘Nakhuda’ that did not do well on the box office. So, this introduction went unnoticed. It was through the track ‘Haq Haq Ali’ in Dilip Naik’s movie about the inter-faith relationship between a young man and his mentor. Nusrat rendered the qawwali along with his relative, Mujahad Ali, and he was credited as Nusrat Ali on the soundtrack. It is reported that even before ‘Nakhuda,’ Nusrat had already performed in India, at the sangeet (music) ceremony on the wedding of Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh on January 20, 1980. Kapoor tweeted out the information in response to a fan’s post of a photograph of the occasion. ‘Nakhuda’ came the following year, but it took Viju Shah’s grand theft for the great singer to get the stature he deserved in India. Shortly before his death, he composed music for three Bollywood films, including ‘Aur Pyaar Ho Gaya,’ in which he also sang ‘Koi Jaane Koi Na Jaane’ and ‘Zindagi Jhoom Kar’. He also composed music for the film ‘Kartoos,’ where he sang ‘Ishq Da Rutba’ and ‘Bahaa Na Aansoo,’ alongside Udit Narayan. He died very shortly prior to the movie’s release. His final music composition for Bollywood was for the movie, ‘Kachche Dhaage,’ where he sang the song, ‘Iss Shaan-e-Karam Ka Kya Kehna’. The movie was released in 99, two years after his death. It is notable that the two legendary singing sisters of Bollywood, Asha Bhosle and Lata Mangeshkar sang his composed songs during his brief stint in Bollywood. He sang ‘Saya Bhi Saath Jab Chhor Jaye’ for Sunny Deol’s movie ‘Dillagi’. The song was released in 99. He also sang ‘Dulhe Ka Sehra’ from the Bollywood movie ‘Dharkan’ which was released in 2000. Nusrat contributed the song ‘Gurus of Peace’ to the album ‘Vande Mataram,’ composed by AR Rahman, and released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.Nusrat’s untimely death: Nusrat died at the age of 48 on August 16, 1997 in London, UK. His siblings comprised his brother Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, wife Naheed Nusrat the daughter of his uncle, Salamat Ali Khan (married in 1979), a daughter Nida. His secretary Iqbal Naqibi is now settled in England. Nusrat’s musical legacy is now carried forward by his nephew, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, popularly known as Farkhi. His wife, Naheed Nusrat, died on 13 September 2013 in Credit Valley Hospital in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.Awards and Achievements : Nusrat received the President of Pakistan’s Award for Pride of Performance for his contribution to Pakistani music in 1987. He was honored with the UNESCO Music Prize in 1995 and the Grand Prix des Amériques at Montreal World Film Festival the next year. In August 2010 he was included in CNN’s list of the twenty most iconic musicians from the past fifty years.The best award is his popularity even today because of the work he left to the music lovers. His album ‘Intoxicated Spirit’ was nominated for a Grammy award in 1997 for best traditional folk album. Same year his album ‘Night Song’ was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best World Music Album, but lost out to The Chieftains’ album ‘Santiago’. In 1995, he received the UNESCO Music Prize. In 1996 he was awarded Grand Prix des Amériques at Montreal World Film Festival for exceptional contribution to the art of cinema. In the same year, Nusrat received the Arts and Culture Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes. In 2005, Nusrat Khan received the “Legends” award at the UK Asian Music Awards. Time magazine’s issue of 6 November 2006, “60 Years of Asian Heroes”, lists him as one of the top 12 artists and thinkers in the last 60 years. He also appeared on NPR’s 50 great voices list in 2010. In August 2010 he was included in CNN’s list of the twenty most iconic musicians from the past fifty years. In 2008, Khan was listed in 14th position in UGO’s list of the best singers of all time. Many honorary titles were bestowed upon Khan during his 25-year music career.He was given the title of Ustad after performing classical music at a function in Lahore on his father’s death anniversary. Faisalabad, his home town’s Arts Council’s auditorium is named after him. Nusrat also contributed songs in several Pakistani films.International press opinions: In social media, Nusrat is often credited as one of the progenitors of “world music”. He was widely acclaimed for his spiritual charisma and distinctive exuberance. He was considered an “arcane religious tradition”, for Western audiences. His powerful vocal presentations, which could last up to 10 hours, brought forth a craze for his music all over Europe. Alexandra A. Seno of Asia week wrote: “Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s voice was otherworldly. For 25 years, his mystical songs transfixed millions. It was not long enough … He performed qawwali, which means wise or philosophical utterance, as nobody else of his generation did. His vocal range, talent for improvisation and sheer intensity were unsurpassed.” Jeff Buckley cited Nusrat Khan as a major influence, saying of him “He’s my Elvis”, and performing the first few minutes of Khan’s hit “Yeh Jo Halka Halka Suroor Hai” (including vocals) at live concerts. Many other artists have also cited Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan as an influence, such as Grammy-nominated Pakistani-American Nadia Ali, Peter Gabriel, A. R. Rahman, Sheila Chandra,and Alim Qasimov. Author and neuroscientist Sam Harris cited Khan as one of his favourite musicians of all time.Guadi releases Nusrat’s songs of Rehmat Recording Company: In 2007, electronic music producer and performer Gaudi, after being granted access to back catalogue recordings from Rehmat Gramophone House which was Nusrat ‘s former label in Pakistan, released an album of entirely new songs composed around existing vocals. The album, ‘Dub Qawwali’, was released by Six Degrees Records. It received huge critical acclaim internationally, reaching second position in the iTunes US Chart, fourth in the UK and was the number 1 seller in Amazon.com’s Electronic Music section for a period. It also earned Gaudi a nomination for the BBC’s World Music Awards 2008. On 13 October 2015, Google celebrated Khan’s 67th birthday with a doodle on its homepage for India, Pakistan, and Japan among other countries calling him the person “who opened the world’s ears to the rich, hypnotic sounds of the Sufis. Thanks to his legendary voice, Khan helped bring ‘world music’ to the world.”Published in Daily Times, November 13th 2018.