Every Wednesday, the lilting voice of iconic ghazal singer Jagjit Singh resonates through the 20-acre campus of Nosegay Public School in Rajasthan’s Sri Ganganagar district.
The maestro, born in 1941 in the district, which was then a part of Bikaner princely state, is being remembered on his 76th birth anniversary, and the school has been playing his music since February last year in his memory.
“We expose our students to every genre of music, including ghazal,” said Nymphaea Sudan Reddy, the school’s principal. “Because Singh’s ghazals are simple and easy to relate, we focus more on his songs.”
The school plays different kinds of music on its campus every evening from 5 to 9 pm, and Wednesdays are for ghazals. But since February 2016, the school has been playing only Jagjit Singh’s ghazals on Wednesdays.
In 2016, the school got a new music hall constructed and named it Sajda-e-Jagjit (an offering to Singh) as a tribute to the ghazal maestro.
The Padma Bhushan recipient, whose soul-stirring voice was behind evergreen songs like Hazaron Khwaishe Aisi, Ye Kaghaz Ki Kashti and Jhuki Jhuki Si Nazar, passed away in Mumbai on October 10, 2011.
The school then made a rule: each of the 90 sections that the school has will perform Singh’s ghazals during their annual performances spread out through the year.
Eleven-year-old Khushee Verma, a Class 5 student, agrees. “I am performing Tumko Dekha Toh Yeh Khayal Aaya at a function in the town on Jagjit Singh saab’s birthday on February 8. And that’s my favourite Jagjit Singh ghazal.”
Reddy, who taught business administration and English language, before she became the school’s principal in 2007, is also a graduate in Indian classical music. It was her idea to keep Jagjit Singh alive in the town where he was born and grew up before going to Jalandhar for higher studies, and later starting his singing career with All India Radio.
Reddy will perform two ghazals of Singh at an event in the singer’s memory to be organised by Rashtriya Kala Mandir, an institution promoting music in Sri Ganganagar, on February 8. “We will have a function in school during school hours and then will participate in the event in the evening,” she said.
The school has 3,800 students, 250 of them boarders, and four music and dance teachers - Vijay Dabi (instrumentalist), Prabha Singh and Shalini Kanwar (both vocalists), and Namita Choudhary (dance).
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