Very few Indian classical music maestros have elicited the kind of adulation, love and affection in both India and abroad that Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasraj has. The celebrated exponent of Hindustani music is a doyen of Mewati gharana remains modest at 83 years of age, being in control of his voice, with music vibrating in the veins and nerves of his mind and soul.
In Chandigarh recently to perform at Tagore Theatre during a concert organised by the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, Pandit Jasraj offered his comments on music. Belonging to the fourth generation of an illustrious music family, Pandit Jasraj was initiated into the field by his father, Pandit Motiram. He then underwent intensive tutelage under his elder brother, Pandit Maniram.
Married to former director Madhura, daughter of Bollywood director V Shantaram, Pandit’s children Shaarangdev and Durga Jasraj and their cousins Sulkshna Pandit and Jatin-Lalit are all accomplished in various fields.
Recipient of numerous awards, the legendary maestro says, “With its depths of tradition in primitive and folk regional genres, Indian classical music is both ancient and modern. For instance, many softening influences had been incorporated to complex genres such as Dhrupad gayaki, thereby paving a way for a more acceptable khayal gayaki.” The vocalist adds that Indian music, which comes from Hindustani and Carnatic schools, is scientific in structure and sublime in character.
The master performer, who is heads Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music, with seven centres in the US and two in Canada, discloses that there are more takers for instrumental music as against vocals from amongst 2,000 students. On the current trends, Pandit Jasraj comments that an increasing number of youngsters are turning to Indian classical music after facing disappointment in TV reality shows.
Belonging to Hissar in Haryana, Pandit Jasraj says he feels upbeat about the popularity of Punjabi music, especially in the Hindi film industry, with many songs inspired form the state’s folk music.
Before signing off, Pandit Jasraj remembers the loss that was dealt to the music world by the passing away of legends including Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Jagjit Singh, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Mehdi Hasan. However, he feels that bemoaning the tragedies alone will not help. “We must imbibe the best of their traits, ideals and spirit, which I feel will be the best and eternal tribute to those legends,” says Pandit Jasraj.