NEW DELHI—Thespian Mohammed Yusuf Khan, popularly known as Dilip Kumar, passed away at the age of 98 today.
He died in the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai where he was admitted for the last several days.
The news of his death was announced by his friend Faisal Farooqui through a message on the actor’s Instagram account.
“With a heavy heart and profound grief, I announce the passing away of our beloved Dilip Saab, few minutes ago. We are from God and to Him we return,” Kumar’s Instagram account declared.
Known as “Tragedy King”, his career in films spanned over five decades.
But, there is another side to his personality as well.
As he was looking for an opportunity to earn money, he left his home in Mumbai and went to Pune, There, he found a job in the Army canteen where he used to prepare sandwich. Soon, he and his sandwich became very popular.
It was early 1940s when free struggle was on its peak. One day, he realized that the freedom struggle was totally justified. One day, he went to the place where freedom fighters were holding meeting and addressed the people.
In “Dilip Kumar-The Substance and Shadow, his autobiography, Dilip Kumar wrote that after the speech, he was picked up by the police and kept in Yerawada jail where many ‘satyagrahis’ were already there. They were called “Gandhiwalas”. Dilip sahib became one of the ‘Gandhiwala’, or the followers of Mahatma Gandhi. So, he was a freedom fighter as well, a fact that is not known to many.
While in jail, he was told by other inmates that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and others were on fast against the policies of the British. So, he also fasted with other ‘satyagrahis’.
Dilip Sahib’s father Ghulam Sarwar Khan and grandfather Haji Mohammed Khan were also associated with the Congress in Peshawar of the North West Frontier during the freedom movement.
Dilip Sahib was greatly influenced by the then Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and the latter also loved him too much. Dilip Sahib addressed several political rallies in support of the Congress candidates, mostly in Mumbai. Pt Nehru had specifically asked Dilip Sahib to campaign for Krishna Menon who was pitted against formidable socialist Acharya Kriplani. Later on, he also addressed politically rallies for several Congress candidates. In 1967, he campaigned for Sharad Pawar in Baramati assembly constituency.
He remained Rajya Sabha member from year 2000 to 2006. He used his MPLAD fund for the development of slums and primary schools in Maharashtra.
Dilip Kumar was very upset with 1993 Mumbai riots post-Babri Masjid demolition. He took part in a procession of over 10,000 persons to restore peace in Mumbai. He was also a part of delegation that met the then Prime Minister PV Narasimharao to save Mumbai from religious hatred.