Amit Saigal, fondly known as ‘Papa Rock', founder of the Rock Street Journal, single-handedly pieced together the Indian rock scene when there was actually no scene. Take any Indian rock band that has made it big today, and they would be lying to say that Amit has not furthered their careers!
My memory of Amit Saigal is vivid as he had actually walked up to us, the MCC Cult-Team at the OASIS Festival @ BITS Pilani in 1993. The timid crusader told us his plans to start up a rock music magazine and it sounded like one of those youthful ideas that would fizzle out when his pocket money ran out, but contrarily RSJ was launched later that year! It was printed at his fathers press in Allahabad and through the years, rock fans fueled the magazine and it flourished. A decade later, I met him again in Chennai, when he came to receive an Award at JRO 2003. Now, two decades later, there are also festivals he pioneered like the GIR, Pubrockfest, Global Groove Convention, Jazz Utsav, Rocktoberfest and the recent India Music Week.
A legend in his own time, his contribution to the independent music scene has transformed an amoeba shaped scene to a defined industry where bands, musicians, promoters and fans have a solid future. Amit moved on to the other side while on a boating trip at the Bogmalo Beach, Goa on Jan 5, 2012. Only 46, his death is untimely, but his dogged zeal will never cease to inspire!