Did you know Pankaj Udhas wanted to become a doctor? Had said he is the general physician of his family


The Indian music community is in mourning following the recent passing of Pankaj Udhas, the ghazal maestro who left us on February 26 after battling a prolonged illness. With a voice that could evoke deep emotions, Udhas captivated audiences for decades, becoming one of the most beloved ghazal singers across the nation. His artistry in music was unparalleled, ensuring his legacy in the world of music will resonate for years to come.

Pankaj Udhas’ journey into music was one of serendipity, as his initial dreams were not of melodies and verses but of healing and helping through the medical profession. Many might be surprised to learn that Udhas once aspired to don the white coat of a doctor, serving as a caretaker rather than a cultural icon. He would fondly describe himself as the “general physician of the family,” signifying the deep-rooted passion he held for the medical field.

In an endearing chat with Mid-day in years prior, the ghazal icon opened up about his youthful ambitions. “Many people assume I’ve always wanted to be a singer, but my childhood dream was distinctly different – I wanted to pursue medicine,” he shared earnestly. His turn towards the musical horizon was a twist of fate, leaving behind an unfulfilled career in medicine, yet, he remarked, “I’m still passionate about the subject.” His love for the medical science never waned, evidenced by his effort to stay abreast of the latest medical advancements. His dedication to following medical breakthroughs was such that he confidently claimed himself to be “80 percent doctor.”

Udhas’ passion was not limited to music and medicine. The maestro also held a deep fascination for automobiles. Recalling memories of his father’s jeep, a vehicle off-limits to him due to its sentimental value, he revealed how that restriction only fueled his desire for cars. “Cars have always made me go nuts,” he exclaimed. Udhas’ car collection began with his first purchase, a Fiat from 1951, a vehicle he cherished and would occasionally take for a spin, finding solace and relief from life’s pressures in those peaceful drives.

His foray into the ghazal genre marked a significant turning point in Indian music. Born in Gujarat’s Jetpur to parents Keshubhai and Jituben Udhas, Pankaj was the youngest sibling, with his family already having a footprint in the arts through his older brothers. Manhar Udhas found moderate fame as a Bollywood playback singer, while Nirmal Udhas gained recognition as a ghazal artist. The youngest Udhas, Pankaj, emerged on the scene with ‘Aahat’ in 1980, paving the way to an illustrious career filled with a series of blockbuster albums, including ‘Mukarar,’ ‘Tarrannum,’ ‘Mehfil,’ and the prestigious performance ‘Pankaj Udhas Live at Royal Albert Hall.’ Albums like ‘Nayaab’ and ‘Aafreen’ further cemented his status as a ghazal virtuoso.

The music industry mourns the passing of a legend, who preserved and enriched the ghazal tradition with his dedication and unique style. Fans remember Pankaj Udhas not only for his melodious voice but for the unassuming man behind the music. Through his songs, he painted pictures of love, longing, and the human experience—universal themes that transcended borders, making him a household name far beyond the Indian subcontinent.

In memory of Pankaj Udhas, we are reminded that life’s journey might veer from its anticipated path, revealing untold potentials and passions. The ghazal maestro’s dual love for music and medicine is a poignant testament to the varying dimensions that make up an individual’s life story. As his melodies continue to echo in the hearts of admirers, his tale is not just one of musical excellence, but a narrative that celebrates the essence of curiosity and lifelong learning. Pankaj Udhas, the singer who dreamed of being a doctor, leaves behind a legacy that will inspire for generations.

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