Sons warn against exploiting Mehdi Hasan’s name
KARACHI: Protesting against programmes being held and books written on Mehdi Hasan without the knowledge and permission of his family, one of his emotionally-charged four sons at the Karachi Press Club on Wednesday said that if anyone wanted to do a programme on him in the future they would have to inform the family first, otherwise legal action would be taken against the organisers.
“We are very unhappy that people are holding tribute programmes without informing us. Books are being written without our knowledge and a lot of wrong information is being printed about our father. People are making money through these programmes as well,” said Arif Mehdi while speaking at a press conference.
Ghazal singer Hari Haran and a family friend Manmit Singh, who had come from India to attend the chehlum of Mehdi Hasan, were also present at the KPC.
Arif Mehdi said his father had been ill for 12 years but no one had come forward to help him when he needed it the most. However, he praised the government over its assistance in medical treatment of the ghazal maestro.
Tariq and Kamran Mehdi, the two sons who live in the United States, said that no one in the US could hold programmes to pay tribute to their father without their permission as they had its legal rights. “We have heard that an award is being named after our father. This is damaging his name and we protest against this attitude,” said a visibly emotional Tariq Mehdi.
Insisting that there was no harm in paying tribute to the singer, Kamran Mehdi said that it hurt them when people informed the family that they were not present at a certain programme. “Some of my father’s former students are making money through such tributes in the US. We will not allow this to happen in the future,” he added.
He thanked Mr Haran for coming to Karachi for the chehlum rites of his father. “I also thank Manmit Singh who took care of my father when he went to India for treatment.”
Also just for the record, Mr Kamran said, his father had a stroke on Nov 28, 2000 in Lahore at his brother’s (Asif) home and he himself was with his father at the time. “This is just to set the record right as the date is usually misquoted, in books and articles just as his year of birth which is 1933,” he added.
“His name has always been Mehdi Hasan and nothing else,” he remarked.
On the gossip that Mehdi Hasan’s sons did not get well along with one another, Asif Mehdi said it always hurt them when others were asked about it. “Wrong information about my father or the family is unjust. I would like to announce here that all of us brothers would like to perform together at the Karachi Press Club in tribute to our father, whenever it is possible,” he added.
On the issue of copyrights, Manmit Singh said it was very important throughout the world as one could not use anything under the copyright rules without prior permission. There were strict rules concerning copyrights in India as well.
He said: “As Mehdi Hasan was a brilliant singer, we have started work on a Mehdi Hasan Foundation with his sons. The foundation will work throughout the world and arrange programmes. Under its umbrella we would like to help artists who are in need of assistance.”
Indian singer Hari Haran was the last speaker who had met Medhi Hasan in 1977 and developed a deep spiritual relationship with him. “His death has created a great vacuum in my life and I have a deep feeling of loss. It has helped me considerably to be with his family here,” he said.