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Baat Nikalegi To Fir Door Talak Jayegi….

9 October 2012 No Comment

Jagjit Singh, a journey till eternity….

– GARGI MISHRA

Yes, the talk went quite far and knocked the doors of almost every heart which has a passion for Ghazals and intellectual lyrics and even after a long journey of 35 years the talk is still in the air. The King of Ghazals Late Jagjit Singh tuned the strings of every heart through his melodious voice and his love for poetry. Ghazal Singer Jagjit Singh could touch the essence of love and its agony elegantly weaved into his music.

Jagjit Singh rooted the genre of Ghazals in the hearts of common man. At the time when maestros such as Begum Akhtar, Mehndi Hasan and other talents from neighboring countries were largely applauded for their singing, Jagjit introduced the Ghazals in a contemporized form using western instruments making Ghazals more refined popular music liked by a larger number of people.

He was born on February 8th, 1941 in Shri Ganganagar, Rajasthan to father Amar Singh Dhiman and mother Bachan Kaur. Singh belonged to the Sikh faith and had 6 siblings.

The Punjabi guy who was named as Jagmohan Singh didn’t had a clue that he had the ability to win over the world with his golden and pleasant voice. A saint, after hearing him sing hymns and poetries suggested, his brother-in-law, Ratan Singh that he be renamed as ‘Jagjit’ meaning ‘one who wins the world’.

Singh as a child was introvert. He completed his schooling from the Khalasa School in Shri Ganganagar and studied science after matriculation. He was a post- graduate in history from Kurukshetra University in Haryana.

Singh, took the lessons of music under Pandit Chagganlal Sharma, for two years in Ganganagar and later developed his expertise in Khyal, Thumri and Dhrupad forms of Indian Classical Music under the great Ustad Jamal Khan of Sainia Gharana(School), belonging to the descendents of Tansen, the great 16th century musician.

It’s quite true that disappointment time and again precedes success. When Jagjit Singh gave audition at All India Radio (AIR) he failed the test. After this he started focusing on riyaz (practicing) and finally AIR took him and he became a celebrity in Jalandhar.

After the inspiration which he got from the national platform in Jalandhar, Singh planned to move to the city of dreams. In the early days of his struggle, Jagjit stayed at the Sher-e Punjab hostel, Mumbai. The rent of the hostel was Rs. 30 a month. He made friends over there, learnt gambling, sang at birthday parties. He started singing at Ghazal concerts and rose in popularity among music directors.

Hardship, Relationship and the Success ship…

Jagjit Singh started his career of Ghazals at the time when only filmy music was sold. The first job offer which Jagjit Singh got was for a role as the lead in a Gujrati film, produced by Aziz Merchant, Gujrati Music director, which Singh refused politely.

“I used to be a hit party singer at one time, but never got any
playback singing assignments. But still earned a name for myself”, said Jagjit Singh in an interview with Hindustan Times.

Stirring millions of hearts with his soulful numbers, ‘Aaye Hain Samjhane Log’ and ‘Teri Khushboo Mein Likhe Khat’ the Ghazal whiz infused new life in the genre of Ghazals by the release of his first album, ‘The Unforgetables’ on HMV LP records in the year 1976. ‘Sarakti Jaye Hai Rukh Se Nakab’(Lyrics: Ameer Meenai) another number from the same album continues to congregate implausible audience even today.

Jagjit & Chitra Together
In the year 1967, Jagjit met Chitra, also a Ghazal Singer and after two year of courtship they got married in December 1969. This couple epitomized the first successful husband- wife singing duo.

By 1980’s, listeners were in the habit of listening to the Ghazals of Jagjit Singh which was an unbreakable tradition or can say an immortal love for Ghazals was in its teens. Be it traders, professionals or youth, every section of the society was drowning in the same musical oblivion of rich music. The college canteens, restaurants, coffee shops, birthday parties all were occupied by the melodic voice of the Ghazal maestro.

The journey of success moved on and the world witnessed some rare gems in the forte of Ghazals from the albums such as Hope, A Milestone, Beyond time, Your Choice, Insight, Cry For Cry, Marasim, In Search, Kahkashan, Koi Baat Chale, Seher, Face To Face, Sajda and many more.

The Ghazal Singer collaborated with the finest of Shayars (poets) such as Muqtida Hasan Nida Fazli, Gulzar, Sudarshan Faakir, Waseem Barelvi, Qateel Shifai, Ameer Meenai. His collaboration with Gulzar in a serial “Mirza Ghalib” gave the real voice to the poetry of the great poet Mirza Ghalib. Jagjit’s voice festooned the whole series directed by Gulzar and made it to the golden books of history.

Jagjit & Indian Cinema
Singh also sang in many Indian movies such as Arth, Saath Saath, Premgeet, Sarfarosh, Dushman, Tum Bin, which today are known for their musical genius and will forever. The maestro’s expertise was not refrained to just Ghazals as he left an ever lasting impression through his voice by singing Bhajans and Gurubani. Albums such as Maa, Hare Krishna, Hey Ram.Hey Ram, Man Jeetai in Punjabi put him in the league of imminent Bhajan singers.

And When Chitra Stopped Singing…….

Jagjit Singh kept a deep pain in his heart forever. A tragedy which shook him inside out, the maestro lost his 19 year old only son ‘Vivek’ in a car accident on July 28, 1990. Due to the damaged street light Vivek accidently drove into a stationary truck and was consumed brutally by fate. After this tragedy Chitra Singh stopped singing. Death of Vivek had a great impact on Singh’s singing as he embraced a new life in the absence of his son.

Jagjit Singh lived his life on his own terms but never made a soul to cry. The Ghazal King was awarded the Padam Bhushan Award (the third highest civilian award) in 2003, Sahitya Academy Award in 1998, Ghalib Academy by Delhi Government in 2005 and many more. The maestro of Ghazals developed some heart ailments and suffered from a heart attack forcing him to quit smoking. Having devoted his entire life to Ghazals and music and spreading love all around, the evergreen immortal voice went on an endless journey and left the world fighting with brain hemorrhage at the age of 70, on October 10th, 2011.

Jagjit Ki Kahani, Apno Ki Jubani

The people who have been very close to the golden voice share their memoir of the ghazal King. Bangalured pounced on the opportunity to talk to some of the most celebrated personalities of India, who themselves are a thing of pride for the nation. These are among the most significant people who had an opportunity to know Jagjit Singh professionally as well as personally.

Poets of Jagjit Singh
• Nida Fazli

Muqtida Hasan Nida Fazli a celebrated Indian Urdu Poet doesn’t need any introduction. His elegant presentation and use of colloquial language for Ghazals and Nazms distinguishes him as an epitome in the arena of renowned poets. Fazli Sahab’s beautiful poetries had been sung by Jagjit Singh together the duo provided the world of music great compositions like, “Duniya Jise Kehte Hain Jaadu Ka Khilauna Hai.. Mil Jaye To Mitti Hai Kho Jaye To Sona Hai”

The evergreen ransom …
“Jagjit Singh us zamane ke ghazal gayak hain jis zamane mein Urdu Muslman nahi hoti thi aur Hindi Hindu nahi hua karti thi (Jagjit’s singing belonged to that time when Urdu wasn’t considered as Muslim and Hindi wasn’t considered as Hindu). Jagjit was the only Ghazal singer who read Urdu in Urdu Script. Today’s singers don’t understand the scaling of Urdu meter. Jagjit’s pronunciation of words appeared like crisp fresh corn”.

Praising the king of Ghazals for his modest behavior, Fazli Sahab reveals an interesting instance. “I had not given my ghazal, ‘Duniya Jise Kehte Hain Jadu Ka Khilauna hai’ to Jagjit. He managed to get this Ghazal from some article or publication and then went on to sing it. When the cassettes were out, I received the ransom (royalty from sales) at my place that’s when I realized that this Ghazal was a hit on the charts”.

Talking about the tragedy which Jagjit Singh faced when he lost his son, Fazli Sahab says, “When Vivek(Son of Jagjit Singh) left this world, Jagjit was in deep trauma and said , ‘Death is a reality’.He put his hand on my shoulder and said, ‘Aye Mere Dost Jab Mera Waqt Aa Jaye, Apna Ladka Mujhe Udhar De Dena (when I go for my last ride lend me your son to give me his shoulders). I feel at present there is no talent on this earth who can meet the standards of Jagjit Singh”

• Waseem Barelvi
Jagjit and the boat ride…

The great Fankaar(artist) of Barelli, Waseem Barelvi Sahab is the Indian Urdu Poet of that genre in which the great poets have expressed their thoughts writing poetries defining the experiences of life. His famous Ghazal “Ishq Mein Ghairat-e-Jazbaat Ne Rone Na diya” is one of the most hit Ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh.
“My first Ghazal which Jagjit Ji sang was ‘Main Chahta Bhi Wahi Tha Aur Wo Bewafa Nikale’ at the Albert Hall, London in a live concert. I had good personal terms with Jagjit Singh. Jagjit Ji had immense love for horses and he used to call me at race courses to keep him company. We often shared time over a cup of tea.
“I remember an incident, when my nephew was staying in Nainital and at that time Jagjit Singh was present in the city for a concert. My nephew and his friend’s family were keen to meet Jagjit Singh. They went to attend the concert and my nephew introduced himself to Jagjit Sahab and went to invite him for dinner at his friend’s place. Jagjit ji accepted the invitation and stayed there for two days. Then they went for boating in the Nainital Lake. While boating Jagjit Singh started singing one of my Ghazals, ‘Mili Hawaon Mein Udne Ki Wo Saza Yaaron Ke Main Zameen Ke Rishton Se Kat Gaya Yaaron’. As he went on singing he went on crying and told my niece that, ‘the reason why I love and respect your uncle is because of this Ghazal of him which has given me a lot of strength in my grief when my son passed away’.

• Rajesh Reddy Bathula
Jagjit: A cheerful giver on a big stage….

Rajesh Reddy, another imperative personality in the counting of great Indian Urdu Poets, has seen several springs with the legend of Ghazals. His well-known ghazal ‘Yeh Jo Zindagi Ki kitab Hai, ye Kitab Bhi Kya Kitab Hai’ from the album ‘Seher’ was sung by Jagjit Singh in his mellifluous voice.

Bathula Sahab shares a memorable experience from his life which describes the greatness of Jagjit Singh. “I was about to release my second book and I had requested Jagjit Singh to do the inauguration. He got ready and asked me to come down in one of his concerts, saying that he will release the book there itself. After the concert he invited me on the stage and inaugurated my book. Jagjit Ji had a big heart and always used to share his stage with the emerging artists and talents .Jagjit Ji asked me to recite some of my Ghazals and I started with the first poem, ‘Jane Kitni Udaan Baaki Hai, Is Parinde Mein Jaan Baaki Hai’. As soon as I started reciting I was amazed to see that Jagjit Sahab was singing the lines which I recited. He was a man of light and positive mood. In my life time I haven’t seen such a sharp and fantastic artist.

• Alok Shrivastava
Jagjit: A maestro who had an eye of a connoisseur….
Being a renowned poet and journalist of the modern times, Alok Shrivastava is one among the closest people to Late Shri Jagjit Singh. He stayed in touch with the maestro for 25 years. Jagjit Singh sang several Ghazals written by Alok Shrivastava. The latest and the most liked is from the album ‘Intehan’ “Manzilein Kya Hain Rasta Kya Hai, Hausala Ho To Faasla Kya Hai”.
Alok, Shares his feelings and thoughts about the maestro.
“Wo Saza De Ke Door Ja Baitha , Kis’se Poochoon Meri Khata Kya Hai. When a soul leaves this mortal world, we say that some one’s dear one has left the world. But Jagjit Ji was my guru (mentor), godfather, my brother and my great friend. I lost a guiding star in my life and no one can ever take his place. Jagjit Ji didn’t focus on the popularity of a poet but was always interested in the content. He always treated me like a younger brother and guided me with full authority as family. Jagjit Sahab had an eye of a connoisseur. He was not only a great singer but also a splendid composer and a Ustaad Shayar(Poet). He was a man of humble nature.

Family of Jagjit Singh

• Kartar Singh Dheman

Jagjit’s love for Moong ki Daal and Methi ke parathe….

Kartar Singh, a soul with similar politeness as the maestro, is the younger brother of Jagjit Singh. Kartar Singh is 15 years younger to Jagjit Sahab yet very close to him. Kartar Ji is into hospitality and has two preeminent Chinese restaurants in New Delhi and Gurgaon which serves excellent Chinese cuisine.

Talking about his brother he gets quite nostalgic but reveals some of the loveliest memories and the particulars related to his brother.
“We were four sisters and three brothers in all. There was a big age difference between us but Bhaisahab had a great sense of humor. When we were small, I usually found him doing riyaz. He was a family man and was a very lively person. When he moved to Mumbai, he always kept in touch with the family and used to come to Delhi almost every month. He was a big foodie and had great love for Stuffed Karela(bitter guard) , Moong ki Dal and Arhar Ki Dal. Whenever he came in winters he loved to eat Methi ke parathe. He enjoyed his food a lot.”

Kartar Singh interestingly tells us how he always stood up for his elder brother and how he maintained his secrets.
“His marriage with Chitra Ji was a closed affair. They got married in a small Gurudwara in Mumbai and no one knew about this in the family except me. At that time there was no telephone in our home. Bhaisahab used to call one of his friends in Ludhiyana and from him I received the messages. Now it was my responsibility to give the news to the family. Anyhow I saw the perfect time and revealed it to my parents, which invariably turned out to be a shock to them.”
The younger brother of the maestro remembers the tragedy which happened with his brother, when Vivek (Jagjit Singh’s son) left the world.

“It was a big trauma for Bhaisahab. We as a family gave a lot of mental support to him, but he kept all the pain with in him. After 1990, Bhaisahab touched the heights of success through his Ghazals. He started singing solo Ghazals as Mrs. Singh separated herself from music because she was still not out of the grief. I love his Ghazal, ‘Sham Se Aankh Mein Nami Si Hai, Aaj Fir Aapki Kami Si Hai’ and I usually sing this Ghazal when I am alone or when I am free. His absence always pinches me.”

• Yaseem Bharti Khan

Jagjit: A man of his own rules…
A great friend of Jagjit Singh and son of Ustad Jamal Khan (Guru of Jagjit Singh), shares some immortal memories which he cherished with his friend who passed away Leaving a vacuum in the heart of many.
With a deep breath, Khan Sahab starts narrating the stories which he says are never ending.
“I know Jagjit from the time when he used to come to learn music from my father. We used to learn music together and shared a deep understanding. From the beginning itself Jagjit was quite different. He had a great sense of humor but was quite introvert too. When he remained in an angry mood, we used to see a totally different Jagjit. We completed our schooling together and even went to the same college, DAV College Jalandhar, for higher studies. Jagjit had a beautiful voice and deep sense for music”
Yaseem Khan shares an experience which tells us that at a time the maestro was an ‘angry young man’. He laughs and starts telling further.
“Once we both went to a college for a competition in Hoshiarpur. When the competition was over, it was announced that Jagjit got the second prize. The crowd over there was opposing the decision of the judge. Watching this I don’t know what exactly happened to Jagjit. He stood up, broke the trophy into two parts and gave it to the judge. Then he asked the judge to come and compete with him”.
Yaseem Sahab remembers the scene and laughs while narrating this incidence. He further describes how Jagjit and he used to enjoy their life staying at a hostel during college days.
“Jagjit and I kept bread and butter along with us in our room. At times when butter was over, we used to steal it from the neighbor’s room. Jagjit Bahut Hi Ishqiya Mizaz Ka Insaan Tha… Na Jaane Kitni Dafa Use Ishq Hua”(Jagjit was a man of romance. I don’t remember how many times he fell in love) He fell in love with a girl when he was in college and used to watch her by making excuses.
Yaseem Ji says that the Ghazal king was quite focused and determined for his career in music and was ready to face any kind of hardships.
“Jagjit and I went to Bombay together. There we lived in a hostel named Sher-e-Punjab. In Mumbai there was a sardar’s restaurant where we both used to sing Mehndi Hasan Sahab’s Ghazal. After some time I came back to my hometown but Jagjit continued with the struggle. When Jagjit was struggling with his career he met Chitra. At that time Chitra was a model and used to sing Jingels. Jagjit and Chitra spent a lot of time together and did riyaz. Jagjit used to do riyaz with Chitra at her place. Chitra was already married but due to differences in the relationship she got divorced and later got married to Jagjit.

Yaseem ji says that Jagjit Singh was a man of his own rules and regulations.
“Although Jagjit belonged to Sikh Family, he never wore a turban. He also used to smoke which is not allowed in the religion. Jagjit’s way of living life was different yet he had some kind of gravity in him that he made such a big name in the world”
With all the sweet memories Yaseem Khan Sahab, for a moment gets poignant and says that good people have to pay a lot in their lives. He shares an experience of the time when Jagjit Singh lost his only son.

“When Vivek passed away, I went to meet Jagjit and Chitra in Mumbai. When I saw Jagjit I couldn’t control my tears. While I was crying, Jagjit stood up and started playing a Tanpura ( musical instrument). Jagjit was so deeply hurt by this misfortune that he didn’t even reveal the depth of wounds in his heart and pretended to live a normal life”

While sharing this experience, Yaseem Sahab’s voice gets choked and he says God rarely makes people like Jagjit. He lived his name and will always live in the hearts of the people.

Singers of Jagjit Singh
How the maestro of Ghazals brought the new talents in the music Industry. A journey reveals
• Vinod Sehgal

Vinod Sehgal a prominent voice in playback singing has given the world of music some eternal music pieces. Vinod Sehgal’s incredible contribution in the daily soap Mirza Ghalib directed by Gulzar is something eternal. He has given his voice in more than 58 films for playback singing and has worked in many albums. Vinod Sehgal considers himself as the ‘Shahgird’(Disciple) of Jagjit Singh. Sehgal Ji shares some experiences how Jagjit Singh helped him to make his career shine.

“In 1975 I moved to Mumbai from Ambala to enhance my career in music. I started working as Assistant Music Director under a famed Music Director, Hans Raj Behl. I worked over there for almost 5 years and was introduced to the industry. At that time it was quite difficult for a new artist to get work. After some time, fortunately I met a Tabla Nawaz (Tabla Player) Harish Wanker, who used to play Tabla with Jagjit Singh. I was doubtful that being a singer, Jagjit Ji would not be able to help but still I went. I met Jagjit ji and he said, ‘Tum bada thedha gaate ho, ye logon ke sir ke upar se chala jayega(You sing difficult notes which the audience might not understand)’. At the time I was living in a guest house in Goregaon with an Assistant Director of Films who was working in Jagjit Singh’s team. Through him Jagjit Ji sent me a message to come and meet him. When I went to meet Jagjit Ji other Directors like Jhony Bakshi, Lyricist Sudarshan Fakir and Chitra Singh were also present. Jagjit Ji gave me a song to write and asked me to rehearse. After rehearsals Jagjit Ji asked me to come to the Western Outdoors the next day. When Jagit Ji left, Sudarshan Fakir sahab and I left. While I was walking down the roads I asked Fakir sahab that the song which I was rehearsing was for what purpose. Listening to my question, Sudarshan Fakir Sahab was amazed that I didn’t know. The answer which I got from Fakir Sahab was a turning point in my life. The song which I was rehearsing was for a movie and that was my first break for the film Raavan (1984). The next day when I went to Western Outdoor studio, Jagjit Ji’s famous Ghazal, ‘Honthon Se Chu Lo Tum Mera Geet Amar Kar Do’, was being recorded and then my final recording was done.”

Vinod Sehgal says that whatever toady I am, it’s all because of Jagjit Sahab. He says that Jagjit Ji always used to treat me as a younger brother and I used to call him Bhaisahab. Giving further examples, Sehgal tells how Jagjit Singh became the guiding star of his life.

“Jagjit Ji released an album, ‘Chitra-Jagjit presents the talents of eighties’ in the year 1981, in which he gave a chance to the new talents like Ghanshyam Vasvani, Junaid Akhtar, Seema Sharma and me to bring forth the young talents in the music industry. I sang a Ghazal, ‘Mili Ho Roohein To Asmaan Ki Bandishein Kya Hain’ and later I sang in his album ‘Kahkasha’. I feel that music is not limited to learning rather it depends on the aura in which we are living. Jagjit ji had a great aura of music full of life and positivity.
Vinod Ji expresses his heartiest gratitude to the king of Ghazals saying the Milestone of his life was also the result of Jagjit Singh’s company.

“Gulzaar Sahab was making a serial Mirza Ghalib, in which the Ghazals of Mirza Ghalib were to be sung by Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh. I got an opportunity to sing the title track, ‘Hain Aur Bhi Duniya Mein Sukhanwar Bahut Acche’ and ‘Koi Din Gar Zindagani Aur Hai, Apni Ji Mein Humne Thani Aur hai’. I contributed a small part but Jagjit Sahab through his voice lived the character of Ghalib.”

• Ghanshyam Vasvani
Jagjit: An angel for dreamers!
Ghanshyam Vasvani, another spectacular playback and Ghazal Singer had been very close to Jagjit Singh. Ghanshyam Ji shares some of the experiences with Jagjit Singh and tells us what a wonder full person Jagjit Ji was.

“I had been in touch with Jagjit Ji for 25 years. Every morning I used to spend at least three hours with Jagjit Ji doing riyaz (practice). He used to listen to my compositions and always motivated me. My first meeting with Jagjit Ji was quite interesting. I was running a garments business and in morning I used to go to the Government Law College. Jagjit Ji for the first time heard me in an inter college competition where I was representing Government Law College, where I sang Menhdi Hasan Sahab’s Ghazal ‘Kaise Chupaun Raze Ghum’. In the competition Jagjit Ji and Chitra Ji were the Judges and I backed the first prize. After the competition Jagjit Ji asked me, ‘Why don’t you take music as your mainstream career’? I replied that I do want to take it as a mainstream career but I have to run my family too, which at present is not possible through music.

After listening this Jagjit Ji said, ‘Don’t worry, I am there with you. I am releasing a new album and I want you to sing in it’ This was the point I got my first break in his album ‘Chitra- Jagjit presents the talents of eighties’ in which I sang a Ghazal, ‘Hota Hi Raha Tera Bayan Chaudhavin Ki Raat’. Then came, an album called ‘Forget Me Not’ in the year 2002 in which Jagjit ji asked me to compose the music and all the Ghazals were composed by me”.

And here comes one of the biggest fans of Jagjit Singh who never got an opportunity to meet him but his love for the golden voice of Ghazals made Singh’s voice reach across the realm through radio….
Mahendra Modi

Mahendra Modi, Channel Head All India Radio, Mumbai and a theatre artist shares his experience about Jagjit Singh.
“I never got a chance to record Jagjit ji in my studio due to some or the other reasons but had conversation on phone many times. Jagjit ji was gifted with this talent which made all his fans connect to his singing. In the early days of my Job in Vibhit Bharti, when I was in Suratgarh, I was witness to the craziness among fans of Jagjit Singh, not only in India but in Pakistan too. Those days Suratgarh, was one among the high frequency transmitters. I used to get thousands of requests for playing his Ghazals on the radio, and sometimes I played the whole album in a series. Jagjit Singh has given a new meaning to the forte of Ghazals and has made it immortal. I love almost all the Ghazals from the album, ‘The Unforgetables’ of Jagjit Singh.

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