Ramta began his singing career in the 1960s, after which he toured the world
India's beloved Ramta Jogi - legendary singer Hazara Singh Ramta – breathed his last at a hospital in Brampton, Canada on Wednesday due to age-related ailments. Known for his simple and witty lyrics, often stringing along to the tunes of a tumbi, Ramta went on to become a globetrotting musician, putting Punjabi music on the world map. His family would be bringing his remains to the city next week, before immersing the ashes in Kirtapur Saheb Gurudwara in Punjab.
Ramta with Amitabh Bachchan and Dara Singh
Ramta was born in Sahiwal, Punjab (now in Pakistan) on August 1, 1926. His singing career began in the 1960s, after which he toured the world. Till today, he finds mention in numerous Hindi film songs as 'Ramta Jogi', most notably in a song by the same title in Subhash Ghai's 1999 film Taal.
He was known for his satirical, jovial lyrics that were wholly based on his personal experiences as village bumpkin from a remote village in Ludhiana, who finds himself in hilarious situations in India and abroad. In the seventies, he wrote and sang the hit number Ramta Bombai Vich, which was about his time in Mumbai. In the song, he mentions how easily he could have been pick-pocketed in a jam-packed double-decker bus. He was also fascinated by the local trains as they did not run on a coal engine.
The son of the soil would visit the city for one last time early next week, but this time in an urn carried by his family.
"It was dad's last wish to return to his motherland, after spending over 53 years in Canada. He was admitted to the hospital just four days ago with multiple age-related complications," said Renu, his daughter. After spending a few days in Mumbai, the family plans to immerse his ashes in the Kirtapur Saheb Gurudwara in Punjab located on the banks of the River Sutlej.
Recounting her memories with her father, Renu says, "As children, we have cherished memories of meeting Bollywood actors like Amitabh Bacchan, Pran, Manoj Kumar. The best amongst our memories was staying in Dara Singh's house," recounted Renu, his daughter.
Ramta is survived by his wife Raj, daughter Renu, son Gurdeep, four grandchildren and two great-grand children. His funeral would take place on Saturday, September 9 at Brampton Crematorium and Visitation Centre in Canada.
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