Ghazal king Jagjit Singh, the soul-stirring voice behind Hazaron khwaishe aisi, Ye kaghaz ki kashti and Jhuki jhuki si nazar, died this morning over a fortnight after he suffered brain haemorrhage.
The 70-year-old singer, who alongwith his wife Chitra almost rediscovered the ghazal genre for common Indian in 70s and 80s, was admitted to the Lilavati hospital on September 23 and was in coma since then.
“Jagjit Singh passed away at 8.10 am after having a terrible hemorrhage,” said Dr Sudhir Nandgaonkar, hospital spokesperson, here.
The day he was admitted, he was supposed to perform at a concert at Shanmukhananda Hall, Matunga, in Mumbai but the programme was cancelled after he was taken ill.
Despite a surgery, his condition did not improve and he remained on life support.
Singh, a Padma Bhushan recipient, was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, on February 8, 1941.
After graduation, he shifted base to Mumbai, to explore career in the world of music. In the next decade and half, he earned nationwide fame as ghazal singer and music composer. He sang in several languages, including Hindi, Punjabi, Bengali, Gujarati, Nepali.
His personal life, though, was marked by a tragedy: His only son, Vivek, died in a car accident in 1990 when he was just 18.
The music world expressed grief on hearing the news of Jagjit Singh’s death. Fellow ghazal singer, Pankaj Udhas, described Jagjit as an “extremely versatile singer”. “I am devastated after hearing the tragic news,” Udhas said on phone from Pune.
Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar said that Singh’s death was a big loss for the music industry. “I knew him well. I hoped he would come out of the coma. But the God willed otherwise.”
Stating that Jagjit brought ghazals into the mainstream, Lata said, “He worked very hard... sang from the heart. Listening to him, people got intoxicated.”
Asha Bhosale said hearing Jagjit’s ghazals brought peace to the mind. “Listening to him was a soothing experience. If one wanted to get away from everyday stress, the best way was to play a Jagjit Singh record.”
Asha described Sarakti Jaye Hai Rukh Se Nakab Ahista.. as her favourite Jagjit ghazal.
“I feel sad for his wife Chitra. She lost a son earlier, and now husband. She is very lonely now,” Asha said.
“Jagjit Singh’s death has caused an irreparable loss to the Hindi film and music industry,” said noted lyricist Javed Akhtar. He described Jagjit Singh as an extraordinary ghazal singer.
“I first heard him when I attended an event at IIT Kanpur named ‘Music Night by Jagjit and Chitra’ while in school. He was an icon. There is nothing I can say to console his wife (Chitra). All I can say is that he will never be forgotten. I pray to god to give her the strength to recover from the loss,” classical vocalist Shubha Mudgal said.
An emotional Usha Uttup recalled her time with Singh. “I can’t believe it. It was because of him that ordinary men could enjoy good Ghazal. We worked together in a jingle when I was just staring my career.
“He is the person who introduced the 12 string guitar and the bass guitar in ghazal singing, in a way no one could. I spoke to him recently. What a human being. It is a great loss.”
Prime Minister condoles
In his condolence message, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said by “making ghazals accessible to everyone, he gave joy and pleasure to millions of music lovers in India and abroad....he was blessed with a golden voice."
The Prime Minister said the ghazal maestro’s music legacy will continue to “enchant and entertain” the people.