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Remembering the dulcet voice

Chandan Sen |

Artistes from Rajasthan paid rich tributes to the legendary ghazal singer late Jagjit Singh (born Jagmohan Singh on 8 February 1941 from Ganga Nagar in Rajasthan) on his birthday. “He was a true musician, a very nice, generous and lovable person and my childhood friend and brother. His voice made an instant impact, possibly no other voice had that magic. He worked very hard in life, faced lot of hardships and his rather untimely death is unbearable for me. My brother is no more but will always remain alive with his golden voice. Shohrat har kisi ko nahi milti…who bahut khaas the,” said Yasin Khan Bharti, the first cousin of well-known Mehdi Hasan and childhood friend and ‘Guru Bhai’ of the ghazal maestro in Kota. Many singers like Roshan Bharti, Rajendra Maheshwari (Jaipur), Deepesh Vishnawat, Mahesh Sharma (from Kota) were among those who paid their tributes to the legendary singer on his birthday.

“We studied at Khalsa School till Class 12 and after that moved to Jalandhar DAV in 1960. Jagjit had learnt the nuances of music under a blind teacher, Pt. Chhaganlal Sharma and later trained under Ustad Jamal Khan of Sainia gharana and gained knowledge in khayal gayaki etc. Jagjit Singh and I later moved to Bombay in 1962 to become music directors. One friend from a cycle shop in Jalandhar (Bhogalsons) used to send around Rs 200 per month for us. Later I came back to Delhi to learn sitar and Jagjit continued with his struggle in Bombay. He met Chitra ji and the duo surged ahead,” says Yasin Khan.

Well-known ghazal singer from Kota, Roshan Bharti the younger son of Yasin Khan says, “We had Hindustani classical and folk at two extremities on the musical horizon with a large gap in between. Jagjit Singh sahib filled this big gap with his popular singing and sang for the crowd while maintaining close connection with each and every listener. He reached the common man pouring his heart out as he sang. His style, pronunciation, versatility, presentation, voice control and special music sense made him an extraordinary singer”.

Singer Rajendra Maheshwari from Jaipur informed, “Jagjit Singh had great passion for horses and racing. His father Amar Singh Dhiman served as an overseer in the Central Public Works Department. Jagjit used to visit his Jaipur-based brother Jaswant Singh Dhiman, who later retired as a director of physical education. Whenever Jagjit visited Jaipur, he would visit his elder brother’s home for meals and the family would enjoy sumptuous Punjabi food and enjoy the family get together. In spite of so many talented singers today, the flavour, rendering and voice of the maestro, his charisma still remains apart and a class unmatched”.

Yasin recollects that “sometime in1973 Jagjit Singh had come by train to Kota with a tabla nawaz and sang in the city at the Shri Ram Rayon stage amidst a special audience of about 50 -60 people. He stayed at the JK Guest House and returned the next day”.

Roshan reminiscing his many meetings with the maestro added, “His many well known numbers (nazm, ghazals, songs, bhajans) like Baat niklegi to phir…, Sarakti Jaye Hai…, Hoton se choo lo tum…, Tum ko dekha to…,Tere Khushbu mein base Khat main … Yeh Daulat bhi lelo yeh Shohrat bhi le lo…, Radhey Krishna Radhey Krishna …and many others were all magical numbers and so it’s very difficult to choose the best. He established a rapport with the audience, translated the difficult words and used violin, Spanish guitar, santoor, percussion and other instruments and perfect talaffuz to enhance the melody of the composition.