Mumbai: The Mumbai Congress on Thursday demanded that legendary Bollywood playback singer late Mohammed Rafi be conferred the Bharat Ratna.
Congress leaders led by city unit president Sanjay Nirupam, vice-president Jaiprakash Singh, Minorities Cell chief Nizamuddin Raeen, district minorities cell chief and a large number of activists paid tributes to Rafi at his grave in the Juhu Tara Road cemetery on the occasion of his 91st birth anniversary on Thursday.
"Rafi Sahab influenced generations of music lovers and was the darling of all Indians who still get mesmerised by his magical voice. Even 35 years after his untimely demise, people have not forgotten his songs and continue to hum them," Nirupam said.
As a tribute to the memory of the great singer, he urged the government to confer the country's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna on him posthumously.
Earlier, several Rafi fans associations and groups had also demanded the Bharat Ratna for the singer on different occasions.
Rafi took the Indian music industry by storm with his entry as a playback singer in 1941 and never looked back till his sudden death in 1980 at the age of 55.
However, he left behind a treasure trove of immortal songs comprising solos, duets with all the top singers of his era, qawwalis, ghazals, disco, pop, rap in Hindi and various Indian languages and also in foreign languages, including two albums in English.
There are roads named after Rafi in Mumbai and Pune, and a shrine in Birmingham, UK, a Mohammed Rafi Academy run by his son singer Shahid Rafi.