On 13 October 1948, a baby boy was born to Fateh Ali Khan’s family—Pervez Fateh Ali Khan, also known by his nickname, Paiji. He was the first boy, born after four girls, which made him the centre of attention and everybody’s darling.
His birth was celebrated with great ceremony. Many reputed musicians, like Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Lal Khan, and the young brothers Salamat and Nazakat Ali Khan, came to the family home to pay homage to the newborn, who was already exhibiting a tendency to plumpness.
Very early on, certain signs seemed to predict a unique destiny for this child with his small hands and remarkable corpulence.
One day, says the family legend quoted by Ahmad Aqeel Ruby, a pious Sufi friend (actually Pir Ghulam Gaus Samadani according to Nusrat’s sister, Nafees Jahan) who was visiting the family, asked what the last child’s name was.
‘Pervez’, replied Fateh Ali Khan.
‘Change this name at once. Do you know who Pervez was? He was the King of Persia who tore up the letter sent to him by the Holy Prophet!(…) This name doesn’t augur well. It should not be the name of someone who will tell the rosary of Allah, the Holy Prophet (Peace upon him) and Ali!’
‘What should we name him, then?’ asked Fateh Ali Khan.
‘Nusrat! Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan! or “the Path to Success”!’
And thus it came about.
From Nusrat: The Voice of Faith by Pierre Alain Baud.
New to Nusrat? Here’s one of his best-known songs to get you going.