KARACHI: Renowned singer Habib Wali Muhammad passed away on Thursday at the age of 90, after being treated for his illness in Los Angeles for the past few days.
Habib Wali Muhammad was born in Rangoon to a conservative family, which later moved to Bombey. His family, Tabani, an industrial house has large business in Pakistan.
He received his MBA from Syracuse University, New York in 1947, and then settled in Bombey for about 10 years before moving to Pakistan.
As a youth, Habib Wali got classical music lessons from Ustad Latafath Husain, nephew of Ustad Fayaz Khan. In college, he became active in the musical functions of Ismail Yousuf College, gaining the nickname ‘Taan sain’.
In 1941, Habib Wali was awarded first prize in a Bombey music competition with 1200 contestants, including the singer Mukesh Chand Mathur. His winning performance was singing the ghazal of the last Moghal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar, Lagta Nahin Hai Jee Mera Ujray Diyar Main.
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, his family migrated to Pakistan and established an industrial group which includes the Shalimar silk mills. Wali gave most of his time to the family business, recording ghazals and geets for films in his spare time, however music was not pursued as a profession.
However, he still sang ghazals for the music companies including a geet written by Perveen Shakir (Gori krath singhar). In the eighties, he recorded ghazals on audio cassettes which were composed by the renowned music director Nisar Bazmi.