Pakistan’s famous Qawwal Aziz Mian died 14 years ago on 6th December, the same date as today. Aziz Mian died from complications of hepatitis in Tehran, Iran on December 6, 2000.
The one of a kind qawwal was in Iran at the invitation of the Government of Iran, to perform on the occasion of Imam Ali’s death anniversary. He is buried in Multan, in the graveyard of Nau Bahar Shah.
Aziz Mian was born as Abdul Aziz on April 17, 1942 in Delhi, British India. The exclamation, Mian, which he often used in his Qawwalis, became part of his stage name. He began to introduce himself as Aziz Mian Mairthi. The word Mairthi refers to Mairath, a town in India, from which he migrated to Pakistan in 1947.
At the age of ten, he began learning the art of Qawwali under the tutelage of Ustad Abdul Waheed Khan. He received sixteen years of training at the Data Ganj Baksh School of Lahore. Aziz Mian obtained M.S. degrees in Arabic, Persian, Persian literature, Urdu literature, and History from the University of Punjab, Lahore.
Aziz Mian was one of the more traditional Pakistani Qawwals. His voice was raspy and powerful, yet this was not the sole reason for his success. Aziz Mian was not only a master musician but was also the only prominent Qawwal to write his own lyrics (though, like others, he also performed songs written by other poets).
Aziz Mian’s break-out performance was in 1966, when he performed before the Shah of Iran, Reza Pahlavi. He won first prize and a gold medal from the Shah of Iran. In the early days of his career, he was nicknamed Fauji Qawwal (meaning “Military Qawwal”) because most of his early stage-performances were in military barracks for army personnel.
The man who enthralled a generation is still one of the most popular qawwals of South Asia.
He made a record for the longest commercially released qawwali, Hashr Ke Roz Yeh Poochhunga, which runs slightly over 115 minutes.