The Bold Voice of J&K

Ruh-e-Ghazal: Jagjit Singh

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In you we are lost, in you we are found, of you, we are born, to you we shall return, this is ours way of keeping you alive in heart of ours who lived their life with yours music and millions to follow in coming years.
Music, travelling world, money, fame, prestige, fanfares along with  struggles and misfortunes become disguised opportunities for growth in Jagjit’s life. The more he battled the odds, the richer were rewards what he couldn’t battle was his illness and he died.
On October 10th, 2011 around 8.30 AM a close friend of mine broke the news to me on SMS “your buddy is gone” I at that time was having no idea that ‘My buddy is Ruh e Ghazal Jagjit Singh’. Like all others I too posted the message on my Facebook and Tweeter account paying my tributes to King of Ghazals. Soon it doesn’t feel like as someone from world of music has gone it was a feeling like a family member who was with me forever from my teenage days is suddenly gone.
Jagjit Sings….all others make a miserable effort. … Many an artiste has touched the pinnacle of success but Jagjit is rare one. He revolutionised Ghazal (romantic Urdu poetry) composition and singing developing a preference for Bol-Pradhaan music, where emphasis is on words and expression rather than the instruments. In terms of Indian Classical music, his style of composing and Gayaki (singing) is considered as Bol-pradhan.
Jagjit handpicked verses of Urdu stalwarts like Mirza Ghalib, Mir Taqi Mir, Daagh Dehlvi, Ali Sardar Jafari, Sudarshan Faqir, Nida Fazali, Gulzar and Javed Akhtar gave them a Raga based richness along with modern instruments  setting human souls to listen with a ease of simplicity.
“Where there’s no pain, it’s not music, it is noise,” Jagjit Singh once said in the TV show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. Even after facing so many hardships in life. He keeping aside his griefs always stood for his music lovers who were his pillar of strength.
His Mantra for Ghazal Gyaki to all Ghazal singers was very simple: focus only on the expression, passion and meaning of the lyrics. He always taught three basics firstly, Riyaaz Karo…always hit the note on its head. Second, Bahut Singers Sur Ke Aaju Baaju Se Gaate Hain. And third one- Zyaada Ustaadi Nahi Maarneka (smiles). Try out all your vocal fireworks at home. “Jagjit always added meaning to lyrics and enhanced its deapth which most of singers overlook now a days”, said Gulzar.
In his life, Jagjit was not religious or ritualistic. He hardly followed any rituals though he used to visit Gurudwara as a child. He was very spiritual person in life having a terrific insight. He did not pray, but meditated at times. In the words of Mastero “Spirituality is a way of life. It is about dealing with oneself. It helps you look into yourself and analyse things. I believe the answer to all your problems is within you.”   His devotional compositions of Bhajans and Gurbani  in  his divine voice ring his heart out that touches every soul.
Death of his son Vivek in a tragic car accident completely shattered the family as each of them grow into their own purpose of life. For Jagjit music was sublime to express his pain as his composition and his Alfaaz changed. His daughter became accomplished tarot reader and wife Chitra was on healing. His effort to make Chitra sing again remained a dream. He composed songs for Chitra Singh and convenienced her for a comeback and started recoding also. Unfortunately daughter Monica died and after that Chitra never sang again.
In his musical journey  of 50 years of singing, The King of  Ghazals had performed over 5,000 concerts, visited 44 countries on music tours, released about 80 albums, composed more than 500 Ghazals and 300 Bhajans, rendered many memorable film songs.
For a man who sang such heart-rending songs, he had a great sense of humour that often came out during his live performances. His concerts were a delight as his heavy voice used to turn joyful, leaving his listeners smiling ear to ear. His jokes in concerts were there for a reason where he used to come up with random jokes midway through the most emotional songs. It was his one way of taking his mind away from a sad thought and perking up the mood of the audience and other was into pleasant Punjabi numbers like Saun da Mahina. Jagjit loved performing at the Wembley Conference Center and the Royal Albert Hall.
The man who sang about life, losses and grief was a huge fan of black and white western movies. He used to watch sports a lot too; American football, rugby, baseball; it did not matter. He enjoyed sightseeing and shopping as well. The famous Lifebuoy jingle from our childhood Tandurusti Ki Raksha Karta Hai Lifebuoy was sung by Jagjit Singh.
Twenty two years after they collaborated on the historic album Sajda, Jagjit’s vice is all set to reunite posthumously with the Nightingale Lata Mangeshkar, albeit in a most unexpected way. As Chitra Singh has gifted undiscovered devotional gem to Lata Mangeshkar . This gem will be now part of Lataji’s new album of Krishna Bhajans entitled Shri Krishna Namah.
Chitra Singh in memory of her late husband has founded Jagjit Singh Foundation. the aim of foundation  with its focus on   India’s music icon is encouraging young talent in the field of fine arts and saving lives through various health awareness initiatives. The foundation also aims to build upon Jagjitji’s legacy for the betterment of society and future generations. “It’s not my responsibility alone, to see that his music lives forever, the onus lies on his diehard fans as well, to take his work forward,” says she.
On his third death anniversary, a true tribute to Ghazal Smarat by his fans is to join for the cause and pledge a support to express desire that Jagjitji’s contribution to our great nation’s cultural and musical repertoire to be honoured with nothing less than the Bharat Ratna. A Jagjit fan, well wisher and music lover  can write directly to Prime Minister Office requesting him to consider his name for India’s highest civilian honour as he deserves the Bharat Rattan as apart from being a singer he was a  messenger of peace  not only in Asian continent but also in whole universe.
Today’s era is most unfortunate for Ghazal lovers as Ghazals are gloomy because they have lost their Guru, the poetry is poignant because it has lost the performer that infused soul in its meanings, the music is mute as it has lost a maestro: I think we should consider ourselves to be lucky to have lived in an era where Jagjit Singh  moved among us in flesh and blood. A Nazm  by Asrar-ul Haque Majaz which is considered one of the best Nazam in Urdu potery,  in the mystical voice of Jagjit conjuring up the magic and the evocative feelings of  emotions sums up my tributre to legend as my heart pops out every time I meander through these words:
Raaste Mein Ruk Ke Dum Lo, Yeh Meri Aadat Nah!. Lautkar Vaapas Chala Jaoon, Yeh Meri FitratNahi! Aur Koi Humnawa Mil Jaaye, Yeh Kismat Nahi Aye Gham-e-Dil Kya Karoo, AyeVahshat-e-DilKya Karoon?

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