It has been half a decade since ghazal legend Jagjit Singh passed away. His reclusive wife, singer Chitra Singh, has, since then, made several efforts to keep his legacy alive. An upcoming event, titled Jagjit Singh Music Festival, will now celebrate the late singer’s 75th birth anniversary.
To be held on February 7 and 8 in the city, it will feature artistes like Zakir Hussain, Pt Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pt Birju Maharaj, Hariharan, Suresh Wadkar, Sonu Nigam, Deepak Pandit and Ranjit Barot, among others. Here, Chitra talks about how she plans to continue promoting her husband’s music, and more.
You recently presented the Jagjit Singh Memorial Award to composer Ilaiyaraaja…
He doesn’t accept awards. But, he very kindly agreed to accept this one. I went all the way to Chennai to present it to him. I will continue to make efforts to keep my husband’s legacy alive.
You established the Jagjit Singh Foundation three years ago. Is there anything else that you want to do for your late husband?
I want to open a museum that can house his instruments and other memorabilia. It would help his fans know more about him. But I have not received land from the government for the same. My husband deserves more recognition. He received a Padma Bhushan despite not having a godfather. But, they haven’t given him a Padma Vibhushan yet. I firmly believe he deserves the Bharat Ratna.
How would you like him to be remembered?
I want him to be remembered for his music and for the human being he was. His capacity to love, and to give… Hamare ghar se jo bhi gaya, koi khaali haath nahi gaya (whoever left our house, never left empty-handed). I cannot say enough about his philanthropy. He did all that without any desire for publicity. I want him to be remembered in totality, and not just as a ghazal singer.
You didn’t record any song after 1990. Will you ever sing again?
I have somehow forced myself to come out of my shell. But singing again is out of the question. I am not the same person anymore.
Listen to Jagjit and Chitra Singh’s melodious but humorous tappe