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Dhadi folk singer Idu Sharif buried at Nabha village

A recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and other awards, the Chandigarh-based Punjabi folk singer was battling poverty and paralysis

Updated: Jan 08, 2020, 21:05 IST

By Mohit Singla, Hindustan Times Chandigarh

Punjabi folk singer Idu Sharif receiving the Sangeet Natak Akademi award from then president Abdul Kalam in New Delhi in 2006. (HT file photo)

Noted Dhadi singer from Punjab, Idu Sharif, 80, a recipient of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and other awards, who was battling poverty and paralysis, died at his residence in Manimajra, on Tuesday.

He was buried at his native place, Laloda village, in Nabha on Wednesday afternoon. Villagers, local officials, former Punjab cabinet minister and Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader Surjit Singh Rakhra and Punjabi singer Pammi Bai attended the last rites.

Sharif had learned the folk art from his father Idu, who was a Dhad Sarangi player. A paralytic stroke he suffered in 2011 made him bedridden. This was followed by three more strokes.

Sharif, who spent his entire life in abject poverty, was promised a monthly stipend of ₹5,000 by the then Punjab Governor BKN Chibber, however, as per the family, they never got a single penny.


“My father placed his name after my grandfather’s name (Idu) as he learned everything including basics of Dhad Sarangi from my grandfather. My father was born in 1939 at Laloda village in Patiala. In 1971 he shifted to Manimajra,” said, Sukhi Khan, eldest son of Sharif.

“We lived in poverty all our lives. My father was promised a ₹5,000 monthly stipend which we never received,” he said.

“Two years ago, the then cultural affair minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, accompanied by Punjab Kala Parishad chairman Dr Surjit Patar, visited my father. Sidhu gave us a financial assistance of ₹2 lakh from his own pocket while Parkash Singh Badal gave ₹1 lakh last year,” he added.

Sharif is survived by his wife Usha, three sons — Sukhi Khan, 47, Gulzar, 43, and Vicky, 38 — and a daughter Dari, eldest of the siblings.

Sharif’s career was lifted by the North Zone Cultural Centre (NZCC), which came into inception in 1985 in order to promote artistes. Heer and Dulla Bhatti Wala were some of his famous ballads in Sufi Dhad.

Sharif was a recipient of many honours including the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2006 by the then President of India, Punjab Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Professor Mohan Singh Award, Shiromani Dhadi Puraskar in 2008, Tamra Patra in 2006 from the then President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.


Rakhra expressed his grief over Sharif’s demise. He said that he was disappointment with the state government as no Congress MLA or minister attended the last rites of the artiste.

Pammi Bai talked about his relationship with Sharif and how he had once convinced Sharif to give up his tonga and focus on his art. “His demise is a loss to Punjabi folk and culture industry,” Pammi Bai said.

Surjit Patar said that his demise is not just a loss to his family but to the lovers of Punjabi folk music all over the world.

Meanwhile, Punjab tourism and cultural affairs minister Charanjit Singh Channi expressed grief over Sharif’s death. Channi said he was saddened by the loss of the Shiromani Dhadhi folksinger. With his passing away, an era in Dhadi folklore has ended, he said.

(With inputs from agencies)


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