May 24, 2013 | 01:41 PM (BD Time)
24 May, 2013 Friday
Jagjit Singh, the Ghazal King
Md Rokanuzzaman :
Originally Gajpreet Singh and renamed as Jagjit Singh by a saint who was enchanted by his voice, this person was a melody master who spent his whole life in the worship of ghazals. He was 70 when he died of a brain haemorrhage on Monday last. This demise is too early for him as a legend and too costly for us as a society. He was considered to be the pioneer of modern ghazal singing and the most successful recording artist outside the realm of Indian film music.
During the time when ghazal singing was dominated by well-established names like Noor Jehan, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Talat Mahmood and Mehdi Hassan, Jagjit Shing made his own room as a ghazal singer with a distinguished style.
Jagjit Singh is the man who is credited for the revival and popularity of ghazals among mass people. Jagjit took ghazals to a new height. He gave them a bigger dimension by modernizing the singing style and orchestration.
In addition to traditional use of harmonium, accompaniment of instruments like sitars, violins, guitars and percussions marked his stage shows performances internationally. He earned the title 'Ghazal King' by dint of his magical voice as a ghazal singer, which surpasses all past expectations of ghazals. He colourfully applied instrumentation and yet kept the melody that ghazals demand, though sceptics and purist might have their own reservations in this regard. Making his way by the unforgettable, he journeyed up to the heart of the ghazal listeners by means of the albums Ecstasies, A Sound Affair, Passions, Beyond Time, Hope, In Search, Marasim, Insight, Mirage, Visions, Kahkashan, Love Is Blind, Chirag and so on.
He sung in Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Sindhi, Punjabi, Bangla and Nepali languages. He had an album in Bangla, which got a huge popularity in Bangladesh. He and Chitra epitomised the first successful husband-wife singing team. In his discography we have around 40 albums and 50 movie playbacks. He got the Padma Bhushan Award, India's third highest civilian award by the Government of India.
Jagjit Singh's associat
ion with music went back to his childhood. He devoted six years to learning Khayal, Thumri and Dhrupad from Ustad Jamaal Khan of the Sainia Gharana School, a distant relative of Mehndi Hasan. Before that, he learnt music under Pandit Shaganlal Sharma, who ran an academy in Bakshi Type College for two years.
Jagjit Shing was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan. Shikh by religion, Jagjit was born to Amar Singh Dhiman, a government employee, a native of Dalla village in Punjab and his mother, Bachan Kaur from Ottallan village in Shamrala. He went to Khalsa High School in Sri Ganganagar and then studied science after matriculation at Government College Sri Ganganagar and went onto graduate in Arts at DAV College, Jalandhar. He is a post-graduate in history from Kurukshetra University in Haryana.
Even though he was widely known as a ghazal singer, Jagjit Singh also sung bhajans and Gurbani (Hindu and Sikh devotional hymns respectively). His Bhajan albums such as Maa, Hare Krishna, Hey Ram...Hey Ram, Ichhabal and also Man Jeetai Jagjeet in Punjabi, put him in the league of Bhajan singers such as Mukesh, Hari Om Sharan, Yesudas, Anup Jalota and Purushottam Das Jalota.
Jagjit Shing and ghazal will remain synonymous to each other due to his lifelong devotion to this special arena of Indian music. We will be missing the Ghazal King and search for his presence in his legacy of melody.
(Writer is a freelancer and can be reached at -firstname.lastname@example.org)
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