An Era Of Mausiqi Ended

on Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Log kehte hain Jagjit na raha. Ghazal ro rahi rahi mera manmeet na raha. -Manoj Kumar on Jagjit Singh's demise on 10th October, last year.

Ghazal kehna bahut zimmedaari ka kaam hai. In other words, conveying the pathos of a poet with musical embellishments is a job of immense responsibility. Jagjit Ji, without fail, discharged this responsibility with enviable perfection. Ghulam Ali Sahab was true when he remarked on Jagjit Ji's demise that "With the going of Jagjit, a pillar of mausiqi has been lost." However, more touched was I on reading as a eulogy Manoj Kumar's above quoted expression. Jagjit ji's loss cannot be captured more lucidly in words. In his going away, ghazals have been left bereft of their most beloved humraahi. Humsafar. The face of ghazals as catches the popular imagination today had been chiseled by the dexterous of doyen of contemporary Indian light classical music. On 10th October last year, he decided that it was time now he serenaded the heavens with his silken voice. If he had not been so hasty in his departure, today we would have been celebrating his 71st birthday.

Jagjit Ji's voice is a magic potion. Much about him shall always be said in present tense, for he has immortalized himself via some priceless jewels. Rare gems like him never recede to the past. Their worth and glory enhances as time progresses. Jagjit Ji's soulful renditions of some great poetry can make reality hit you hard, or transport you to a surreal world. They may intensify your gloom by echoing with surprising precision a personal sorrow. The same ghazals could exude a salubrious air- an air capable of setting right the ills concomitant to deeply, passionately felt love.

Besides being a prolific singer, Jagjit ji was a great storyteller. Ask me what sung by him is my favorite ballad and I won't spare a nano second in pointing towards these lines. These lines are a chain of thoughts. Lyrically beautiful. Rendered sublime in Jagjit Ji's soulful voice.

Baat niklegi toh phir door talak jaaegi
Log bewajah udaasi ka sabab poochhenge
Yeh bhi poochhenge ki tum itni pareshaan kyun ho
Ungliyan uthengi sookhe hue baalon ki taraf 
Ik nazar dekhenge guzre hue saalon ki taraf
Choodiyon par bhi kai tanz kiye jaayenge
Kaanpte haathon pe bhi fiqre kase jayenge
Log zaalim hain har ik baat ka tana denge
Baaton baaton mein mera zikr bhi le aayenge
Unki baaton ka zara sa bhi asar mat lena
Warna chehre ke taasur se samajh jayenge
Chaahe kuchh bhi ho sawalaat na karna unse
Mere baare mein koi baat na karna unse

Now, doesn't this story sound all too familiar? If you have not, I implore you with all my heart to lend an ear to this just once. For this composition, veteran lyricist Javed Akhtar is said to have remarked - Baat nikal bhi gayi, aur door talak jayegi bhi. These were Jagjit Ji's early days. Javed Akhtar's words proved prophetic for the heights extraordinaire which Jagjit Ji was destined to climb.

He shimmered like the brightest star in the sky of Indian music. A sitara, however, has not been lost. He is, in fact, shining ever more brightly, firmly, coruscating in the hearts of millions who loved him and will continue to do so till eternity.

Today is his 71st birthday. I wish it were in my capacity to reach out to him and wish him just once.

Achchha sa koi mausam, tanha sa koi aalam
Har waqt ka rona toh, bekaar ka rona hai.