Many national treasures breathed their last at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH). But when the hospital witnessed the passing of Azam Khan, the occasion was unparalleled. The hearts of every rock music lover skipped a beat or two at the news.
On June 5, 2011, the slender and athletic man, who rightfully earned the moniker "guru" was laid to eternal rest. And for his fans, it was hard to accept that Azam Khan will never rock the stage in his signature style.
Born on February 28, 1950, Azam Khan, born Mahbubul Haque Khan, had fought as a guerrilla fighter against the Pakistani occupation forces during the Liberation War in Sector 2 and inspired many freedom fighters with his music.
His outstanding compositions such as Obhimani, Ashi Ashi Bole Tumi, Highcourt Er Majare, Ami Jare Chaire, Ore Saleka Ore Maleka, Jibone Kichu Pabonare, Ami Jare Chaire, Rail Liner Oi Bostite, and Hei Allah, Hei Allah Re were instant hits.
Azam Khan's associates and the next generation musicians fondly remember him as the pioneer of pop music in Bangladesh. Nine years after his demise, he is still alive in the hearts of thousands with his everlasting legacy.
Jon Kabir, a renowned face of the local music scene, talked to The Business Standard about his memories of Azam Khan. "I didn't get to witness Azam Khan during my formative years, so he was not exactly a direct inspiration to the kind of music I do. But as a human being, he had an immense impact on me," Jon said.
"Azam Khan taught me how to be a humble man. He showed us that even with a hoard of fans and success, one needs to be down to earth and simple," the Indalo frontman added. His favourite Azam Khan song is Hariye Giyechi Khuje Pabe Na.
Sufi Maverick, the frontman of Arbovirus, has similar thoughts about the king of pop. "Azam Khan is a freedom fighter and a rockstar at the same time. I consider his 1973 performance in BTV a milestone for musicians and music enthusiasts alike. This show inspired a whole generation of musicians to pursue music," he said. The multifaceted musician told the correspondent that the first song he learned during his early days of learning the guitar was the iconic Azam Khan piece Obhimani.
"All the rock musicians and rock music lovers in our country are indebted to him. If Azam Khan stayed with us for a while longer, we could learn so much more," Sufi remarked. His favourite Azam Khan songs include Rail Liner Oi Bostite, Ashi Ashi Bole Tumi and, of course, Obhimani.