This is a guest post by Parvinder Singh.
The music legend Jagjit Singh sadly passed away on Monday in the Indian city of Mumbai. He was 70 years of age and had died of a brain hemorrhage. Like myself, millions had grown up with his music and songs. Many of them he had earlier sung with his beautiful and talented wife, Chitra Singh. Over the years though, the couple have had to endure horrific tragedies, particularly in relation to the deaths of their son and daughter. That pain and loss would cast a shadow on much of Singh’s compositions.
Years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Jagjit Singh perform live in London and was immediately captivated by his soft and warm voice and his take on the Ghazal, the musically form of Urdu ‘shayari’ or poetry. Without realising it, he had brought alive the words of the 19th Century poet Mirza Ghalib like no one before him. Such was his impression on me then, that I began to learn to read the Urdu script so to understand fully what was being said.
Yet Jagjit Singh was no ordinary singer from the subcontinent. He crossed borders and faiths in his quest to bring poetry to ordinary folk. From the Urdu verse and the Punjabi poetry of Shiv Kumar Batalvi, to the Punjabi Tappe, Hindu Bhajans and Sikh Shabads. Before his untimely death, he was in the middle of a tour with renowned Pakistani ghazal legend, Ghulam Ali.
These are just a few of Jagjit Singh’s gems:
Woh kagaz ki kashti, Woh baarish ka paani (That little paper boat, that water from the rain)
Hazaran khwahisen aisi, ke har khwahish pe dam nikle (a thousand desires, each of which could consume my life)
Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho, kyaa gham hai jisako, chuupaa rahe ho (you are smiling so much, what is the sorrow you are hiding?)
Hoto se chulo tum, meraa geet amar kardo (touch my song with your lips, make it immortal)
The music world may have lost such a gifted artist, but his soft, heart warming voice will live in the albums and concerts and in our hearts, forever.
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Filed in: Culture,Hindu,India,Muslim,Pakistan,Sikh