When Indian playback singer S. P. Balasubrahmanyam passed away in Chennai on September 25, as a mark of respect, Mofas Khan, a resident of Bamako, capital city of West African nation of Mali, decided to upload legendary singer’s photograph as display picture of his whatsapp account. For Khan, it was a natural gesture to show his admiration to one of India’s greatest singers.
Hailing from a village in Mopti, Mofas Khan is an ardent Indophile and expresses his love for India through Bollywood songs. A passionate singer who has learnt Hindi without a teacher, Khan has been singing Hindi songs since 2003, and also presents a weekly radio programme called India Gaana dedicated to Bollywood on Renouveau FM 98.1 MHZ Bamako. Interestingly, Mofas Khan, begins every episode of his radio programme with India’s National Anthem. “I started singing at a very young age and was always attracted towards Hindi songs,” shares Khan, whose radio show of about one hour every Tuesday is quite popular among people of Mali. The show not only entertains them with Bollywood new and old songs but also provide them latest information about their favourite Indian actors.
Mofas Khan, through his songs, reflects his unique love for India. Though he has never been to India but his passion for India and its culture is admirable. The first Hindi song which he sang in his life was “Rote Rote Hansnaa Seekho” from the film Andha Kanoon, sung by legendary Kishore Kumar, since then there has been no looking back. From “Mera Joota hai Japani” to “Laut ke aaja mere meet” he presents best of Indian classical songs in soothing Hindi. His all-time favourite singers include Mohammad Rafi and Kumar Sanu.
The 38-year old singer, who stays alone in Bamako, while his family is at the native place in Mopti, feels that India and Mali have a lot of similarities. “The social life is same and that’s why people love watching Hindi films and shows on channels like Zee Cinema, B4U and Zee Magic,” he shares. During the last one decade the popularity of Indian music has increased tremendously in Mali and there are numerous cultural groups across Mali which promote Indian music and dance like Yaarana Hindustani, Dostiare, Sathiya Maharaja etc.
Khan is also invited regularly in events organised by Indian Embassy in Bamako. He wishes to see Taj Mahal, take a dip in Holy Ganga and explore the land of Bollywood – Mumbai to meet Shahrukh Khan and Dilip Kumar, if he gets an opportunity to visit India.