WHEN GHAZAL LOST IT'S KING!!!

jagjitsinghGhazal Samraat JAGJIT SINGH passed away this morning at about 0800 hours at the age of 70 in Mumbai.With his demise a very big chapter in Ghazals has come to an end. 

No one will sing and present Ghazals the way he used to do... to be very honest, no one even knows the 'magic' of bringing such a specialized subject like Ghazal into the hearts of common listeners, old and young alike, presenting it in such a romantic and easy manner that the listener is captivated in the very first line.

Born, in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan on the 08th of February, 1941.

His father was Amar Singh Dhiman, a government employee, and his mother was Bachan Kaur. He had four sisters and two brothers and was he himself was called Jeet by his family.

He was raised as a Sikh by religion. His birth name was Jagmohan but his Sikh father rechristened him as Jagjit following the advice of his guru.

It was his father, who first recognized his son's talent. He sent young Jagjit to learn the nuances of Classical music under a blind music teacher, Pandit Chhaganlal Sharma, and later trained under Ustad Jamal Khan of Sainia gharana for six-years and gained knowledge in Khayal, Thumri and Dhrupad forms becoming Jagjit Singh  the UN-DISPUTED King of Ghazals.

Time and again Mehdi Hassan, Ghulam Ali and even Ustad Hussain Box of Pakistan were often termed as "King of this Genre" by several media and other organizations, but the un-disputed Samraat, Shahenshah was indeed Jagjit Singh only because he was the only singer-composer who achieved the rare status of a Ghazal singer among connoisseurs and common people alike. He chose the best in Urdu Poetry and carved them into 'easy - listening' tunes presenting them in the most soulful and romantic manner, with less improvisations but maximum feeling. This is the magic of his success.

I personally knew him from 1987 and also accompanied him in quite a few shows here, Mumbai, Ahmadabad and abroad where I came face to face with his gargantuan ability to pick and choose wonderful poetry and finally set the perfect tune for the same, which suited his baritone voice like a glove. His sense and knowledge about 'pitch' was phenomenal, which is evident in compositions like "Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar" (Arth) and "Tumko Dekha Toh Ye Khayal Ayaa" (Saath Saath).

Incidentally he composed music for three feature films, namely: Prem Geet in 1981, Arth in 1983 and Aaj in 1990, out of which the first two were runaway successes.

Paired with his better-half Chitra Singh he has churned out several albums which are practically 'gold-mines'. They are: THE UNFORGETTABLES (His first full-length album, featuring the Nazm: Baat Niklegi Toh Phir), COME ALIVE, A MILESTONE, ECSTASIES, PASSIONS, ECHOES, HOPE, FACE TO FACE, LIVE AT WEMBLEY, THE LATEST (featuring "Woh Kagaz ki Kashti"), SOMEONE SOMEWHERE, BEYOND TIME Etc.His magnum album "Sajda" along with the nightingale Lata Mangeshkar will forever remain a legend in it's own right. 

beyondtime He is probably the first singer/composer to record an entire album in using MULTI-TRACK sound system (recorded by Daman Sood, in Wetern Outdoor Studios, Mumbai) introduced for the first time in the country, the album was titled "BEYOND TIME", in fact it was literally 'beyond time' in terms of music arrangement, recording technique and total approach. Jagjit Singh was an artiste who was ahead of his times very much like Salil Chowdhury and Rahul Deb Burman.

Recipient of Padma Bhushan award, he has sung in several languages including Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi and Nepali.

Very few music lovers know that he also has a full length Bengali Album released several years ago in the Pujas, where he recorded 8 Adhunik Songs penned by the legendary lyricist Pulak Bandopadhyay and composed by himself. I still remember "Sob kichhu ekhane achhe" from this album composed on Mishra Charukeshi; a marvel of a song.

His popular ghazals include, Meri zindagi kisi aur ki, Sarakti jayae hai rukh se naqab, Main chahta bhi yehi tha woh bewafa nikle, Apne haathon ki laqeeron mein, Milkar Juda Huye Toh, Kagaz Ki Kashti, Kal Chaudhavin ki Raat, Apni aakhon ke samundar mein, Log har mod pe, Har ek baat pe Kehte ho tum (Ghalib), Patta-patta boota-boota haal hamaara jaane hai, Pyar ka pehla khat likhne mein waqt toh lagta hain, Jab kisise koi gila rakhna, Tumne Sooli Pe latakte jise dekha hoga, Patthar ke Khuda Patthar ke Sanam, Har taraf har jagah be-shumaar aadmi, Tumko dekha toh ye khayal aya, Hothon Se Chhoo Lo Tum, Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar, Koi yeh kaise batayein, Hoshwalo ko khabar, etc.

Jagjit Singh made a mark during the '70s when the ghazal scene was literally dominated by well-established names like Noor Jehan, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Talat Mahmood and Mehdi Hassan; however listeners were tired of listening to the old and hackneyed format when Jagjit Singh brought into the Ghazal Genre a 'fresh' approach, much like what Rahul Deb Burman did to Hindi Film Songs, and captivated millions of hearts.

Thus the saga of Jagjit Singh was born.

His later albums were - Marasim', 'Aaeena','Dil Kahin Hosh Kahin'.

He also gave his voice for ex-prime minister Atal Bihari Bajpayee's poems in the albums 'Nayi Disha' and 'Samvedna'.

His songs were soaked in a deep tinge of tragedy which dripped from every line of his every ghazal with an underlying pattern of wonderful feelings. He could detect the subtle nuance in every poetry and specifically added stress to the most heartfelt line of the same.

However the greatest tragedy that could happen to any man, happened to Jagjit Singh in 1990, 28th of July, when he and his better half Chitra Singh lost their only son Vivek in a tragic road accident in Mumbai.

After this incident their life was not the same again. The inimitable Ghazal Duo of Jagjit Chitra broke up, as Chitra-ji went into 'utter silence' out of sheer shock and tragedy. Before Vivek passed away, they had recorded their forthcoming album but it was untitled. Many of the rhythm tracks were arranged by Vivek himself for this particular album as he was a very talented and budding percussionist at that time.

someonesomewhereThis album was released after a few months as "Someone Somewhere" from Saregama HMV and was dedicated to the loving memory of his son Vivek Singh. The ghazal - "Aadmi Aadmi ko kya dega" from this album was and will remain a milestone in the history of Modern Pst 1970 Ghazal  timeline.

On May 10, 2007, in a milestone joint session held in the historic Central Hall of India's Parliament (Sansad Bhawan), Jagjit Singh rendered the last Moghul Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar's famous ghazal "Lagta nahin hai dil mera" to commemorate the 150th anniversary of India's First War of Independence (1857).

President A P J Abdul Kalam, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee, Congress President Sonia Gandhi and dignitaries including former Prime Ministers, Members of Parliament, Foreign Ambassadors and High Commissioners were in attendance.

Before this illness, his last major concert was held on 16th September, 2011 in Nehru Science Centre, Mumbai. His last concert was held on Saturday 17th September,2011 in Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi.

After which he underwent a surgery at Lilavati Hospital in Bandra on 23rd September 2011 after he suffered a brain haemorrhage. Doctors at the hospital performed an emergency surgery on him. His condition was described as "critical" and doctors continued to monitor him in the ICU. He was breathing with the aid of a ventilator. Dr Ajit Menon, a cardiologist, Lilavati Hospital, said,"He suffered a brain hemorrhage and underwent a surgery to remove clots in his brain. His condition is critical," he said.

Jagjit Singh, who was scheduled to perform with Pakistani ghazal icon Ghulam Ali at a concert at Shanmukhananda Hall, in Mumbai next Friday, had a history of heart ailments. In January 1998, he suffered a heart attack, which led him to quit smoking. Again in October 2007, he was hospitalized following blood circulation problems.

However, the 'samraat' could not come back hail and hearty from the hospital to once again enthrall millions of his fans and passed away this morning to the heavenly abode.

However, till the day is done on this universe, and till the day music remains - Jagjit Singh and his unforgettable ghazals, compositions and his very 'soch' will live and live eternally.