Journey from Radio Ceylon to Crafting an Encyclopedia

Mere Geet TumhareAjit Pradhan.jpgIntroduction

Life’s seemingly insignificant moments can pave the way for transformative decisions with far-reaching impacts and towards remarkable destinations. In my case, a childhood fascination with Radio Ceylon paved the way for a profound connection with the legendary Mohammad Rafi. Today, I stand as an ardent enthusiast, having authored articles, co-written books, and organized shows, all dedicated to the maestro’s timeless music.

In addition to my earlier achievements, I have organized, and still continue to do, numerous Audio Visual shows highlighting various facets of Hindi films and its Music Directors, specially those dedicated to Rafi Sahab, showcasing the enduring impact of his melodious voice on my life.

How It All Started

Hailing from Dahod, Gujarat, my love affair with Rafi Sahab’s songs began during my childhood, listening to Radio Ceylon.

Encouraged by my Chief Editor, I began a series of articles titled Rafi Ki Sangeetmayi Duniya, delving into the intricate details of Rafi Sahab’s ability to adapt to various styles and demands of music directors.

Growing up in Dahod, Gujarat, my early exposure to Radio Ceylon opened a portal to the enchanting world of Kishore Kumar and Mohammad Rafi. Soon, the magic of Rafi Sahab’s voice, especially in songs like Laal Laal Gaal Jaan Pe Hai Babu … captured my heart, and I soon found myself immersed in the diverse emotions conveyed through his songs. Rafi Sahab’s ability to infuse life into diverse characters through his voice left an indelible mark on my young mind. This admiration eventually led to my foray into writing about Hindi cinema music for Hindi and Marathi publications, setting the stage for my journey into the world of Hindi cinema music.

Soon, at the behest of my Chief Editor, late Ishaque Mujawar, I embarked on the series titled Rafi Ki Sangeetmayi Duniya, delving into the nuances of Rafi Sahab’s versatility across 30 articles. This venture set the stage for a remarkable journey that further evolved after I acquired a Record Player in 1970, marking the inception of my compilation of Rafi Sahab’s songs.

The idea of compiling an encyclopaedia of Rafi Sahab’s songs flashed against when my friend Vishwas Nerulkar launched his book titled Gandhar, a compilation of Lata Mangeshkar’s songs.

A month or so later, my late friend Vishwanath Sonawane introduced me Pritam Menghani who suggested that we both, being fans of Rafi Sahab, pen down the Encyclopaedia.

Despite initial hesitations due to job commitments, the unwavering support from my elder brother, late Vijay Pradhan, convinced me to grab this God-sent chance to embark on this ambitious endeavour that would become the Mohammad Rafi, Mere Geet Tumhare encyclopaedia.

Challenges Encountered

While the joy of writing the book was unparalleled, challenges arose in compiling information for some less-known songs. Thanks to immense help from Smt. Padmini Pereira and Gopal Sharma, both Announcers at Radio Ceylon, various Music Composers, Lyrics, Cinema Personalities, Music Collectors, friends and well wishers, all hurdles in creation of the encyclopaedia were overcome.

Picturization and Final Touches

A unique layer was introduced by incorporating details about on-screen actors for each song, a suggestion from my friend Dinesh Sharma. Gathering information from video cassettes and seeking insights from industry stalwarts added a cinematic flavor to the encyclopaedia.

The process of revisions and final touches, including manual indexing of songs, was time-consuming but essential for the accuracy of the information. Decades later, I find myself still referring to the Encyclopaedia to cross-check information, especially in the age of platforms like YouTube, where rare songs occasionally surface.

The Launch and Global Recognition

The meticulous process of revising details, indexing songs, and ensuring accuracy demanded exhaustive efforts. A significant period was spent manually indexing the songs, a task that culminated in a final touch after several revisions.

The encyclopaedia, aptly named, Mohammad Rafi, Mere Geet Tumhare, was officially launched in the presence of renowned personalities like OP Nayyar, and its reputation spread far and wide.

Copies were sent to iconic figures in the music industry and the enthusiasts,  collectors and avid music fans to the United States, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and Europe.  Radio stations found the encyclopedia invaluable for seeking information on song picturisation.

In a testament to its significance, copies of the encyclopedia are proudly displayed in Rafi Sahab’s room and Mumbai’s iconic Shanmukhanand Hall.


The journey from a Radio Ceylon listener to the creator of a Rafi Sahab Encyclopedia has been a labor of love, dedication and unwavering passion. The challenges faced, the collaborations forged, and the sheer joy of preserving the magic of Rafi Sahab’s voice in the form of an encyclopedia have made this journey both fulfilling and everlasting.

As the encyclopedia continues to be a beacon for enthusiasts and researchers, my commitment to preserving the legacy of Rafi Sahab’s timeless melodies remains unwavering to remain etched in the hearts of generations to come.

~ Ajit Pradhan, Dombivali (India), Editor, Mohammad Rafi, Mere Geet Tumhare


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