Jagjit Singh birthday: Hostelmates urged him to stop riyaz, he'd say 'saalon, you'll pay for this privilege one day'

Feb 08, 2023 02:22 PM IST

On his 82nd birth anniversary, we revisit Sathya Saran's biography of ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh and recall how his college days used to be.

Wednesday marks the 82nd birth anniversary of legendary ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh. He is credited to have popularised ghazals and having brought it to the middle-class and has a huge fan following. However, when he practiced during his college days, his hostelmates would ask him to stop, but he was confident of his talent even then. (Also read: 5 lesser-known facts about Jagjit Singh)

Wednesday marks Jagjit Singh's birth anniversary.
Wednesday marks Jagjit Singh's birth anniversary.

Jagjit Singh loved and worshipped music right from his childhood and even in his college days, he was confident that his music will take him to great heights. Hindi crime fiction writer Surendra Mohan Pathak recalled how the singer would practice music in the early hours, disturbing other hostelmates when they stayed together while studying in DAV College, Jalandhar.

In author Sathya Saran's biography Baat Niklegi Toh Phir: The Life and Music of Jagjit Singh, Surendra recalls that he was hostel mate and classmate of Jagjit when they pursued BSc in DAV College. He adds that students with least marks were given the last choice when it came to taking up rooms and one such last choice was to reside in a room beside the one where Jagjit Singh stayed. “This was because Jagjit Singh would practise his singing with a two-hour riyaz that started at five every morning”.

The book further quotes Surendra as saying, “The riyaz session would be repeated for two hours, starting at five every evening. Due to the unending “ruckus”, the boarders who lived adjoining Jagjit Singh’s room considered themselves a persecuted lot. ‘On other occasions too, he would catch hold of any fellow boarder in the corridor and sing a melodious film song for his benefit. Most often, the listener was anything but appreciative, and would shake him off, adding, 'Yaar, tu ne toh pass hona nahin, humein to padhne de (Friend, you won't clear the papers, but let us study).' To this, Jagjit Singh would retaliate angrily, ‘Saalon, you will not listen to me now, but there will come a day when you’ll pay for this privilege.’”

In the book, Surendra also recalls that Jagjit Singh would sing the same song each year during Lohri celebrations, “at the audience’s insistence, and there never was a dry eye left. Many students would openly sob and the spell would not be broken even when the song was over.” The song was ‘Ay taa jag diyaan lohriyaa, saadhi ka di lohri akkhaan'. Jagjit Singh is best known for his ghazals, but his vast discography includes Punjabi hits to tappe, and bhajans.

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