Pankaj Udhas laid to rest in the Hindu Crematorium at Mumbai’s Worli

India, known for its rich tapestry of musical heritage, is today mourning the loss of one of its most cherished voices. Pankaj Udhas, the legendary ghazal singer whose lilting melodies captured the hearts of millions, passed away on the 26th of February after battling a prolonged illness. At the age of 72, the maestro was honoured with a somber yet stately send-off at the Hindu Crematorium in Mumbai’s Worli, where he was laid to rest with full state honours.

Wrapped in the tricolour, Udhas’ mortal remains were transported from his residence to the crematorium, accompanied by ceremonial bands and troops who provided a final, heroic salute to a man widely regarded as a pillar of Indian music. His funeral procession was an embodiment of national respect and a reflection of his immense contribution to the cultural fabric of the country.

The ghazal legend, who started his journey in a small town in Gujarat, went on to become a global ambassador of the ghazal genre. He was no stranger to film either, imparting his voice to numerous memorable movie tracks that continue to resonate with music lovers. It was back in 1980 when he shot to fame with the release of his solo album ‘Aahat’, and since then, Udhas never looked back. With successful albums like ‘Mukarar’, ‘Tarrannum’, and ‘Mehfil’, Pankaj Udhas became a household name.

Songs such as ‘Chitthi Aayi Hai’, ‘Na Kajre Ki Dhaar’, and ‘Aur Ahista Kijiye Baatein’ became synonymous with the emotions of love, longing, and loss, striking a chord with audiences of all ages. His unique ability to weave poetry into music allowed him to immortalize the essence of ghazal singing, making it more accessible and relatable.

The news of his demise, as announced by his family in a sorrowful statement, brought grief not only to his loved ones but to admirers and contemporaries in the industry. Tributes poured in, recognizing Udhas’ contributions and the void his departure has created.

Among those who came to pay their respects were eminent musical figures like Shankar Mahadevan, Sonu Nigam, Vishal Bhardwaj, Rekha Bhardwaj, and Ustad Zakir Hussain. Each one echoed the sentiment of profound loss and shared personal recollections of Udhas, whose positive outlook on life and music left a lasting impression on everyone he encountered.

Shankar Mahadevan expressed his shock and extended his condolences, emphasizing Udhas’ upbeat attitude and his prayers for strength for the bereaved family. Similarly, Sonu Nigam’s heartfelt message lamented the loss of a pivotal figure from his childhood, conveying a deep sense of personal loss alongside his wish for peace.

Pankaj Udhas’ legacy not only encompasses the world of music but also his philanthropic efforts, for which he had been bestowed with the prestigious Padma Shri award. His charitable work and support for numerous causes highlighted another facet of his impactful life.

As India says goodbye to a luminary, the melodies he crafted will forever waft through the air, a soulful tribute to Pankaj Udhas’ transcendent talent. His passing marks the end of an era in ghazal music but his artistry will continue to inspire generations of singers and poets. Today, a nation collectively whispers ‘Om Shanti’, wishing peace to a voice that soothed many a restless soul. Pankaj Udhas may have left us in body, but his voice remains an undying echo of India’s rich musical landscape.

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