Padma Bhushan awardee lyricist and poet Gopal Das 'Neeraj', passes away aged 93

Neeraj won three back to back Filmfare awards in the 70s for his compositions in Chanda Aur Bijli, Pehchaan and Mera Naam Joker

FP Staff July 20, 2018 10:02:56 IST
Padma Bhushan awardee lyricist and poet Gopal Das 'Neeraj', passes away aged 93

Lucknow/New Delhi: Doyen of Hindi poetry and legendary lyricist Gopal Das 'Neeraj' passed away at the All-India Medical Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi on 19 July. He was 94.

Padma Bhushan awardee lyricist and poet Gopal Das Neeraj passes away aged 93

Gopal Das 'Neeraj' (left) and a still from Mera Naam Joker's Ai Bhai,  Zara Dekh Ke Chalo. Facebook/@RajendraKumarNishad.Official, YouTube screengrab

Neeraj had suffered a head injury following a fall at his house in Agra and was undergoing treatment at a hospital there, Dr Rajesh Malhotra, chief of the AIIMS trauma centre, said.

"He was shifted to the trauma centre here last night in a critical condition. He had kidney failure, infection all over his body and head injury. He passed away today at around 7.30 pm," he said.

He had been suffering from a number of old age-related ailments for the past few years and was shifted from Agra to the pulmonary department of AIIMS on 18 July after he developed respiratory complications, a family member informed.

Shashank Prabhakar, son of Neeraj, told reporters in the national capital that the body of the late poet would be first taken to Agra for people to pay their last respects and after that it would be taken to Aligarh where the last rites would be performed.

Neeraj was born in Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh on 4 January, 1924 and has enthralled generations with his soulful poems and lyrics. Many of his books and compositions won acclaim from his followers world over.

His main compositions include Prangeet, Vibhawari, Antardhwani and Sangharsh, among others. He was honoured with the Padma Shri in 1991 and the Padma Bhushan in 2007. The Uttar Pradesh government had bestowed on him the Yash Bharti award in 1994.

For his lyrics in Bollywood films, he won three back to back Filmfare awards in the 70s —for 'Kal ka pahiya ghoome re bhaiyya...' from the film Chanda Aur Bijli in 1970, 'Bas yahi apradh main har baar karta hoon, aadmi hoon aadmi se par karta hoon...' from film Pehchaan in 1971 and 'Ai bhai, zara dekh ke chalo...' from film Mera Naam Joker in 1972.

Expressing his condolences, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said the death of legendary poet is an irreparable loss. He also announced institution of an annual award in the memory of late poet, to be given away to five young poets. The award would carry a cash prize of Rs one lakh and a citation.

UP Governor Ram Naik also mourned his death, while Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav has described the demise of Neeraj as an irreparable loss. Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party president Mahendra Nath Pandey also mourned the demise of Neeraj.

The state government has announced that the last rites of the poet would be held with full state honours.

(With inputs from agencies)

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