World Lost Sur Ka Sargam And I Lost My Dreams Of Tomorrow

Nilesh Neel
on Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Short Bio
Mr. Neel considers Bashir as his prime mentor and has founded International Readers Society of Poet Bashir Badr. His journey till date has been long.
hen the world is seeing him as a departed person who would no more walk the earth, I see him as an imprint on the world of voice, which for eternity will remain inimitable. He may have gone as a living body but my last few treasured months with him, makes me feel close to his soul.

I would say Jagjit was “an instantly identifiable voice with stunning musical versatility”. In this era when music is impersonating the western rhythm, Jagjit was one of those few rare musicians who kept alive the traditional melody of Ghazals
Jagjit throughout his career transformed the ambiance of the audio music and paved the way for contemporary Ghazal music. He has been known for his super-matched voice with poetic persona of Ghazals. His golden voice bestowed beauty and feel to the wordings of the Ghazals. I founder chairman of IRSPBB Nilesh Neel have known Jagjit not from an artistic/singer/musician’s viewpoint but more in a humanitarian way. He was not a common man. As a holy ray of sunshine he was right there when I was in pursuit of an ideal way to promote the works of my guru Bashir Badr. I got acquainted with Jagjit sahab during my quest to bring the works of Bashir Badr to the world. With a gifted voice and gentle soul he was an inspiring figure in my life. During this stint I got an opportunity to work closely with Jagjit Singh.

is contributions and support in bringing forth the works of Bashir Badr are timeless. The Ghazals of Bashir and voice of Jagjit are perfect combination of melody and lyrics. Jagjit sahab has been ever ready to be a part of the cause towards promotions done by IRSPBB. Jagjit Singh had volunteered to travel the world on world tour to assemble funds for IRSPBB. He was the guest of honour and was to inaugurate “” website; formal inauguration was later cancelled due to poor health of Bashir Badr. He was glad and appreciative of the web portal of Bashir Badr and has given a video message for the portal and Bashir Badr. The website is fully alive now with the message from Jagjit Singh in it.

As a singer he has a strong contribution in bringing the Ghazals to the public listening
He has proliferated the light of diminishing Urdu literature by means of his singing. Jagjit throughout his career transformed the art of the bollywood music and paved the way for Ghazals. In his career, he had an unparalleled level of worldwide influence over all the generations through his musical contributions in voice lent to Ghazals. Singing in a “fully adult voice” that was “tinged by sadness” has added imaginations to the Ghazals he sang.

ach singer has his own style of singing and own distinguished voice. Jagjit’s voice had the serenity, depth that expressed the sadness of aching heart. His voice resonates with expression of feelings and emotions of the Ghazal being sung. Jagjit was a self made man. He had seen days of struggle initially. He gained recognition in the later stage of his life and hence he had a soft corner for the struggling artists. He had motivated me and was an iconic figure to me. It was a huge motivation and matter of pride for me when he chose to sing my Ghazals. He made a sur for my sher ‘ek ladki muskurayi hai ,chand sae roshni aakhoan mae uther aai hai.’ It was my hard luck that my poems didn’t get his voice. I did not get a chance to be artistically linked with him. My new book ‘Life – A collection of Urdu and Hindi poetry’ had its luck. I didn’t have the luck to be sung by him. It unfortunately could not become a reality but the touch of his feelings will always be there. It would be selfish if I express regret on this. But there will always be incompleteness felt because my Ghazals could not get the voice of him. I would say those were lucky who got the voice of Jagjit to their Ghazals. He has sung for famous writers as well as the aspiring ones.
He was the one who was a renowned voice who kept vibrancy and charm of the Urdu poetry alive through his voice
But now sadly that voice is gone forever and there is no match who can carry it forward so beautifully. It’s hard to accept but this is the truth now, that his absence will be a setback to world of Ghazals. His revolutionized Ghazal composing singing made him king of Ghazal. He knows how to compose Ghazal in beautiful music which stays in your heart.

agjit has sung the Ghazals of many great poets like Mir, Ghalib to Bashir Badr, etc. Few decades ago Urdu literature was losing its essence Jagjit had his own pick of Ghazals because he knew which Ghazals should be sung to keep the desirability of Ghazals keep going. He would choose the ones which were clearer and simple. His voice and vocal style never changed noticeably. Through all the years of singing he had maintained the same style and impression of voice. It always had the same force and consistency. While singing his emphasis of words had deep vocal vibration to it which as a vocalist added a distinct quality and sound. Albeit Jagjit comes from a different culture and background, a distinctive smooth expression of words of Urdu was exquisite. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style have embarked a new voice to world of Ghazals. He was a trained classical vocalist which took him to ‘bol pradhan gayaki’ and eventually to the Ghazal format, he use Raag “Bhairavi” Raag “Lalit” in “koi paas aaya savere savere. His masters are Pt. Chaganlal Sharma. Later he learned from Ustad Jamal Khan of Senia Gharana. His singing was later enamored by the style of Ustad Aamir Khan Sahab which clearly visible in his singing.

In one of my recent meeting he asked me why I don’t take Isla… he was surprised that despite Bashir Badr being my Guru why don’t I take Isla from him. He has read my poetries and suggested me to take Isla. He said regardless of how good one writes one has to take suggestion (Isla) as it helps to fit the meter well. He took his mobile and said I will call Nida Fazli you can go to him and discuss your poetries he will help you, but I wanted my poetries to stay original to my way of writing… I told Jagjit Sahab I wanted my expression to be portrayed in the way I view things although he insisted me to meet Nida Fazli but I had to catch my evening flight hence couldn’t meet him and we plan to meet him in my next visit in September.

My second book ‘life the poetry’ will be very close to me as he was my ambassador and had happily consented to launch my new collection of Urdu and Hindi book “Life” in November 2011. My book life was to be inaugurated by him and before the launch of IRSPBB at the London book fair he decided to do the world tour in January 2012 for IRSPBB establishment. I am pleased that he has congratulated my writing and my new book Life. I have a picture of him with my 1st copy of book. A sher from my book ‘Life’ is dedicated to him.

“Wo gaata hai to barson ki tishnagi bujh jaati hai ,
Use khoob aata hai aansoo bhari aankhon ko pee jana”

This sher classically defines him. When I had written this sher I had not known Jagjit Singh but now it matches him so well as though written only for him.

In 2005 Bashir Badr’s album was just recorded. That evening Bashir sahab, Jagjit sahab and I were in the studio. Jagjit sahab came to me and gave the copy of that CD to me before the launch of the CD in the market. I don’t know how but Jagjit sahab always had a clear, straight attitude towards me. He said in his strict voice “Neel this is a fresh copy it’s yet not launched in the market, I am still not sure what name to give to this album but I am thinking to take line from Bashir sahab Ghazal (and later it was titled ‘Tum to Nahi Ho’) I will launch it next month by the time you can enjoy it privately and don’t ever give the copy to anyone as it’s not yet commercially launched.

Next day we came to Bilaspur for a concert by Jagjit Singh. Bashir Badr was also a guest of him and I was accompanying him. On the stage Jagjit sahib arranged the VIP chairs and also made me feel like a guest. Though it was one of our first meetings he made me feel special. He has given me huge respect and I cannot forget it. There are many more instances but I can’t forget this one where for the first time I could share a stage with my Guru and Jagjit Singh.

It was not long ago when in 2006 he promised to support me for IRSPBB. He promised to support IRSPBB by singing at a concert under IRSPBB banner and then in April 2011 before IRSPBB London book Fair launch he gave a Video message and clearly announced to do a world tour for IRSPBB and that is his true, honest, soul gestures to support my working. He was to give my dreams true happening. For me Jagjit sahab was true spirit who was supporting me and IRSPBB like any father who thinks for his son. I have lost world tour with him, my new book “Life” launch by his hand and my Ghazals in his Voice. I feel like a lost soul within me with these 3 lined-up events, which Jagjit Sahab was supposed to help me for.

agjit Sahab was clear and straight in his talks. Whatever he said he did and that makes him close to my heart. He never acted the boastful like a celebrity. He speaks just like we talk commonly at home. He always played pranks and jokes… he has lovely sense of humor. Whenever I met him he always made me laugh on his jokes… he became just like any college going youth. One important hobby of Jagjit Singh’s life was his passions for horses & racing and that is his prime time relaxation.

f I go down the path how Jagjit singh became Jagjit singh, I would say: Origin of recordings of Ghazal started with Begaum Akhtar and has continued till Jagjit Singh. Begaum Akthar sung masterpiece her style was unique and matchless. With passage of time Mehendi Hasan soften the pitch of it, and Talat Mahmood done miracles by his voice in Ghazal singing, he had a pure voice like the moon light, he was one of the most soft and humble Ghazal singers ever happened, his Lerzish in voice (Wave in voice) can take you along with feelings and notions. He was a true gem in songs and Ghazal singing, he was priceless and had an immortal voice. We shall forever remain indebted to all the Legends of the Golden Era but after them Jagjit Singh made the Ghazal singing more younger and romantic; one of the best Ghazal singer ever born for common man. Gulam Ali and Jagjit Singh ruled the Ghazal Singing for decades. Gulam Ali has more variation in voice, his selection of Ghazals have Love, Sadness , Passion, Romance, Pain of separation where as Jagjit Singh sings in semi-classical style, his voice became true gesture for common man feelings. Jagjit Sahab’s selections of Ghazals are Life’s Philosophy, Romance, Ibaadat and Love. Both of them have extreme waves in Ghazal singing but Jagjit Singh rules over the common man hearts all over the world by his straight way of Ghazal singing. Jagjit Singh’s voice had maximum base and depth to sing pain and emotion, that a poet has written and with his astonishing style in this generation he was called “sur Ka sargam”. One can stay with his voice stability; he can silently sooth a mind with his voice quality in depth of pain and sentiments. He very well knew how to sing a particular individual word with 100% assured pronunciation. With his way of singing word to word even general Ghazal sounds good only because of his particular sur in word to word sargam. If he sings anything it’s in sargam, he was marvelous composer and his depth composing knowledge made him the maestro of Ghazal singing which lives today in every human heart. Jagjit brought contemporary taste to Ghazals also blending it with the bollywood singing. I believe this voice would remain in hearts forever. Number of Ghazals has been sung by all other past great maestro and it’s true they have their own identity but the voice which goes with common man’s life is the one and only Jagjit Singh’s. His voice is extremely soothing for ones heart and feelings to relate their pain in his voice. It’s a magic of settled voice and pain with healing silent expression. The way the Ghazal has been introduced by him is immortal in style. He has born to give a dawn to the spirit of Ghazal singing. His voice is dream of love and expression. He has very perfect vision what to sing and which Ghazal to select specially he knows how to co-relate this 700 year old history of Ghazals in new fresh singing with the audience of 20th century. It’s his biggest achievement that he very well understood what a common man wanted to listen in Ghazals. He sung Ghazal/ nuzm like 1. Ab mae rashan ki kataroo mae nazar aata hu… 2. baet niklaegi tho dur talak jayaegi… 3. wo kagaz ki kashti wo barish ka pani…. This is the milestone which made him close to the people. The shayar like Mirza Ghalib , Mir taki Mir, Faiz Ahmed Faiz were not the singing of Jagjit singh whereas he always pick the Ghazals of new generation and that made him famous by singing these contemporary writers like Quteel Shifai , Sudarshan Fakir, Kafeel Azar, Insha , Nida Fazli, Bashir Badr, Kaifi azmi, etc.. He sang greatly in Mirza Ghalib TV serial and that is only the work he sung of Ghalib. Recently he was planning to work on Ghalib kae khat with Gulzar. He told me in my last meeting with him that very soon they will bring the work on Ghalib kae khat.
We know voice like his is gone forever. We don’t know when such voice will be reborn. Nevertheless he can’t be history or a marked as a date from past, because I hope the generations to come will carry forward the spirited feelings of Jagjit’s voice. Melody never dies it may change the mediators like Begham Akhtar made her own mark, then followed Mehendi Hasan in quite a different form, succeeded by Talat Mahmood and then came Jagjit Singh. Hence it will be wrong to say that this is the end; the generations change and they rejuvenate a new genius. Bashir Badr has written a very suitable sher on this “Khoobsurat nayi duniya hogi , mujsae aachaa mera baeta hoga ”. Just as after Ghalib and Mir the world of Ghazals did not come to an end, because Bashir Badr was born, gifted with contemporary style of writing giving life and freedom to traditional Ghazals.
God runs this world. The gap between life and world is shrunk by artists like Bashir and Jagjit. The world will keep a salutation for this semi-classical Ghazal King. He has given much more for today’s generation and we can’t thank him by any reward or repay. I would like to end this article with my sher:

“Use doosron kee qeemat ata karni bahut aati hai,
Tum na raho to tumhaari qabr men chaadar kee peshgi aati hai”

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