Eminent poet, Bollywood lyricist Gopal Das Neeraj passes away


Lucknow, Eminent poet and Padma awardee Gopal Das Neeraj died at AIIMS in New Delhi on Thursday after a prolonged illness. He was 94. A close friend of Samajwadi Party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav, Neeraj had been ill for the past couple of days and was recently shifted to AIIMS, New Delhi from Aligarh where he had been staying with his son. Gopal Das Saxena, popularly known as Neeraj, was born on January 4, 1925, in the village of Puravali near Mahewa of Etawah in Uttar Pradesh. He had penned down hundred of popular Bollywood songs of yesteryear which earned him a Filmfare award in 1970. He was also nominated for his song for Filmfare like "Ae Bhai Dekh ke Chalo of Mera Naam Joker" and 'Bas Yehi Apradh Mai Karta Hu of Apradh" but could not get it. His famous songs are "Jina Yaha Marna Yaha of Mera Naam Joker, 'Rangila re' of Rangila Re, Shokhio Me Ghola Jaye' of Sharmilee among others. As a lyricists his best works were songs penned in the film "Prem Pujari", "Tere Mere Sapne", "Chanda aur Bijli", "Pehchan", "Mera Naam Joker", "Chupa Rustam", "Sharmilee", "Gunaha" and "Gambler". Neeraj, however, quit the film industry after the death of two of his best friends and music directors Sachin Dev Burman and Jaikishan of Shanker-Jaikishan fame.He was awarded Padma Shri in 1991 and Padma Bhushan in 2007. Mulayam Singh Yadav also gave him Yash Bharati award during Samajwadi Party's last regime. Besides writing, he had earned his living through teaching in a college and was a Professor of Hindi Literature in Dharma Samaj College, Aligarh. He had attained a unique position as a songwriter who had written with equal facility in both Hindi and Urdu.In 2012, Neeraj was also made the chancellor of Mangalayatan University, Aligarh.