Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cat Stevens of Pakistan

In early 70s there rose a sweet voice that captured countless hearts of music lovers. The most melodious and heart touching song broke not only the morning, but the entire world to this great singer. Yes I am talking of Cat Stevens and his ever fresh song “Morning has broken.” Besides being a singer, he was a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator and philanthropist. And while his songs were hitting the charts all over the world, one day he announced his conversion to Islam and renamed him Yusaf Islam. From 1977 onwards, he was a changed man. He sold of his famous guitar, left his music career and devoted himself to educational and philanthropic causes in the Muslim community. His services have been recognized for promoting peace and has been honoured with 2003’s World Award, Man for Peace Award (2004) and 2007 Mediterranean Prize for Peace.

Although already Muslims, a few singers in Pakistan also left pop singing at the height of their popularity and became fairly religious. The first one was Junaid Jamshed, the jeans clad youth from Islamabad, who came to limelight when he as part of a four young men’s band sang the famous “Dil Dil Pakistan.” The group Vital Signs released many albums and was hitting the charts everywhere. Then the group disintegrated but the lead vocalist Junaid continued to sin solo thereafter for a long time. And then one day he too left singing, grew a beard and started reciting religious readings like “Hamd and Naats”. Junaid also contributes to religious programmes academically.

The second pop singer to leave singing and start to recite religious readings is Ali Haider. Ali Haider started his music career with his famous song “Qarar” which instantly hit the charts. He too released many a album, which all sold like hot cakes. His smart appearance attracted large crowds everywhere he went. His famous “Purani Jeans” is still hummed and sung with the same popularity till date.

I do not know much about Najam Shiraz as to whether he has too followed the suit or not. But he has taken on the religious singing too and his narration has been liked by his countless fans.

Although the three above are not convertees as Cat Stevens, but their change over greatly resembles that of present Yusuf Islam.