Chitra Singh does not think the nation has done enough to honour her late husband. “He is a national treasure,’” Chitra said. “I think the nation should honour him in a very special manner. It is not just my wish; I get countless phone calls and emails from people who feel not enough has been done for him. I feel it should come up as a national campaign.” Jagjit, who popularised the ghazal without compromising on its quality, was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2003. A Facebook campaign is currently on for him to be conferred the Bharat Ratna.
“There are other singers who have been honoured by the nation and I respect them,” Chitra said. “However, they do not have the kind of love that Jagjit enjoys today and will continue to have.”
Chitra, who quit singing in 1990 after the death of her son Vivek in a road accident, wants to keep her husband’s memory alive through a series of projects that will be undertaken by the newly formed Jagjit Singh Foundation.
“It is a big dream,” the singer, whose evocative and high-pitched voice blended perfectly with Jagjit’s deep baritone, said. “There are many things that I want to accomplish. We are experiencing teething problems now, but I won’t give up. I need a lot of funds; I don’t know how easy that is going to be.”
Chitra is hoping that lovers of Jagjit’s music will step in to help her. “I am trying in my own humble way, but I need help to fulfil my dream. I am still hopeful.”
As part of the efforts to keep the memories of her husband alive, Chitra will release “The Voice from Beyond,” an album containing unreleased ghazals sung by Jagjit, at an event in Mumbai this evening. Grammy Award winner Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt, classical vocalist Sanjeev Abhyankar, Anup Jalota and Deepak Pandit, who accompanied Jagjit on the violin for more than 20 years, will perform on the occasion. Some say that Jagjit was at his best as a composer when Chitra was active as a singer. Chitra, however, does not agree. “The ghazals he composed for me were very different from what he sang,” she said. “He was very particular in choosing compositions that suited the voice of the singer he was composing for. He remained a very good composer until the end; it is just that after I stopped singing, people did not get to hear the kind of compositions that suited my style.”
Oct 10, 2013 – Arun Sivasankaran |