Pakistani Perofrmers

Jagjit Singh Sets up Trust to Help Pakistani Performers

By Anjum Gill

LAHORE: Indian ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh has set up a trust to help Pakistani artistes and performed at a concert to raise funds for this purpose in Karachi that fetched Rs 7.5 million.

Visiting Pakistan for the second time in a month, Mr Singh told a press conference at the Avari Lahore hotel on Friday, that the trust was run by the Pakistan International Airline chairman and composer Arshad Mahmood. “These men will prepare a list of needy artistes soon,” he said. The Sindh governor has donated Rs 1 million to this trust.

Mr Singh said he had donated $5,000 to Pakistani ghazal legend Mehdi Hassan for his medical treatment. Regarding the current decline of ghazal singing, he said people were coming back to ghazal now because they had become sick of noises. “The next era is of ghazal.”

Missing his wife Chitra while performing at concerts, Mr Singh said, “She just stopped singing after our son passed away. She was with him during his last visit.”

Asked about rumours regarding Mr Singh’s separation from his wife, his manager Parjeet Singh clarified, “Jagjit and Chitra have been happily married for the last 30 years. They are not separated at all. She just stopped singing.”

Talking about the government support for classical singing in India, Mr Singh said, “Yes, the government gives due patronage. But classical singers are otherwise patronised privately. They are busy in private conferences throughout the year.”

“Electronic media is not giving due coverage to ghazal singing. They are more into pop singing and only at certain points have crossed limits,” said Mr Singh.

He urged the Pakistani media to give exposure to classical music and promote ghazal singers.

About his favourite singers, Singh said, “When I was a child, Talat Mahmood was a popular singer in those days. Then I used to listen to Amir Khan. Thereafter Baray Ghulam Ali Khan and then at a later stage, I listened to Mehdi Hassan.”

About singing ghazals of any poet other than Ghalib, Mr Singh said, “I did a cassette on Qateel Shifai. I also sang quite a few ghazals by Javed Akhter and also that of Gulzar.

He said he could read an Urdu script. “I read Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, Ahmed Faraz and Nasir Qazmi and sang their ghazals. I sing ghazals when I like it.”

He said his last concert was a bad experience. “But I didn’t mind it. I’m here to rectify it now,” he said.

He said exchange of artistes between Pakistan and India should take place more often. He was all for peace and said artistes should also play their role in promoting peace between the two countries. “People in India are happy over peaceful relations between the two countries,” he said.

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