Monday, December 12, 2011

Singer Jagjit Singh

Daily Diary Oct.11
Singer Jagjit Singh

In his 40 years of entertaining and alluring singing career,the soft and "silky" voiced Jagjit Singh created a vast following not only in India but among millions of people of Indian origin settled all over the world as well.
He created a niche for his somewhat thick but soothing voice perfect to enjoy an evening of simple vocal music along with blending orchestra of few instruments.

His self-composed music and singing style,which usually had a light classical touch in it,can aptly be described as a geet performance though the selection of most of the songs were Urdu compositions.

Was Jagjit Singh a gazal singer?

His fans certainly seem to believe in that and called him "king of gazal". With all sincerity he should have refuted and disclaimed this title as his singing style,certainly sweet and melodious lacked the quirks of gazal singing. In this regard those who blame him for "corrupting the gazal" have a valid point.

Distinction can be easily spotted even by a callow Indian vocal music listener that the singing style of Jagjit Singh and the gazal gayaki mastered by Mehndi Hassan, Ghulam Ali, Begum Akhtar, Mallika Pukhraj of evergreen number,abhi to main javan hoon, fame,and to some extent Talat Mehmood.

Credit is bestowed upon Jagjit Singh that by his so-called simplyfying style he brought gazal to the masses. But in reality gazal rendering is already a simplified version of classical Indian music along with thumri and dadra. And when altered it gets into different musical track but does not remain in the principality of gazal.

In the words of Mallika-e Ghazal Begum Akhtar, "Ghazal shahee dhang se gayee jaye to uska nasha sar chad ke bolta hai" ( if a ghazal is sung in a proper way it can be very intoxicating"). This nasha is seen less and less these days thanks to the new version of Ghazal gayaki in India.

( Rita also contributed to this Daily Diary page )

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Daily Diary Oct 3rd/2011

Is Gandhi relevant today!

Not necessarily. But his message of love,truth and nonviolence is very basic and eternal both at the individual and worldly levels.

This is what has been emphasized in an article in the October 2nd edition of the Indian Express by a grandson of Gandhi.

While love and truth are mostly viewed as saintly sermons,the message of nonviolence is the most popular weapon which Gandhi successfully used,and which got international recognition.

However,the nonviolence doctrine has not been upgraded to the level where it could avoid and resolve major violent conflicts in the world.Wars in Afghanistan or Iraq would not have been necessitated if a genuine one on one dialogue between the leaders could have been tried.

The nonviolence approach does not merely confine to mere strikes or fasts as was effectively practiced by Gandhi. In this age of mass communications and advanced flow of information and viewpoints,violent fighting over conflicts to resolve issues is totally insane.

While Gandhi's nonviolence activism got him international fame and many followers, an important part of his personal life and preferences has been revealed in a very unknown small book by Mr Kris Tangri.

Kris Tangri is an old acquaint of mine and Papaji's longtime friend Shanti's brother,who in his 80's lives a retired life in Victoria,Canada,after a very successful academic career.

Kris reveals in his book that during his university days in India,he fell in love with a fellow student who was the grand daughter of Gandhi.The romance went for quite some time and finally the couple agreed to get married.

But,according to Kris that was not acceptable to Gandhi,for the only reason,he figured out that he was Punjabi getting into Gujarati family,which never happened before.Otherwise,Kris in his young days was quite handsome,educated,intelligent and belonged to reputable and established Punjabi Khatri Hindu family.Sure,he had all the required qualifications to be accepted by Gandhi and his family,but he was not a Gujarati.

Despite,initial no to this proposal,the couple were adamant and the engagement ceremony was performed.At this point,Gandhi came with a condition that marriage could only take place if the couple did not see each other for next seven years as a test of their everlasting love for each other.

Well,the destiny had it's own plan,Kris was to leave for Europe for higher studies,and while abroad,due to lack of fast communications,he lost his contact with the person he loved. Gandhi's scheme worked and his grand daughter in the meantime got married,which Kris learnt when he came back to India.

Well that was Mahatama Gandhi known for his universal fight against racism and prejudice,but in his personal life he was just a Gandhi.

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

comments on two issues

Comments on two issues raised in Indian newpapers
An absorbing and interesting leisure activity,which keeps me connected with the world out of the ashram,is reading the daily newspapers.Here we get the more-than-century old (established 1878) and well edited The Hindu, and ever lively The Indian Express.Also delivered are two vernacular newspapers in amrati-shaped Malaylam language,must be sweet,but when being heard seems delivered by a fast-paced bowler.

Two items which caught my attention the most are in today's edition of the Indian Express.

The first is a large three-column wide top to bottom federal government's Ministry of Human Resource Development ad with the slogan "stop ragging on campuses".And it adds "ragging is a criminal offence and lowers standards of education".

In defining ragging the ad explains it is an act which involves mental/physical/sexual abuse,criminal behavior,undermining human dignity,etc.

The ad lists several serious warnings for those who in the name of institutional custom and seeking some fun to tease and exploit new comers to a college,university and even a high school.It says "ragging in any form is punishable".

It lists a 24-hour,7-days a week toll free anti-ragging help line.

Ragging is certainly a worldwide nuisance which sometimes even results in suicidal deaths by the naive tender-aged victims.The Indian government's anti-ragging campaign and tough measures to curb the annual menace is certainly commendable.

The second item, which appeared as an editorial in the Express,deals with,perhaps one of the most basic and pressing problem most Indians face regularly on a daily basis,is access to workable and hygienic toilet.

The editorial with heading "India's toilet revolution remains an elusive dream",gives some convincing statistics. It begins with an interesting statement which states that according to a worldwide survey to find out which invention made the greatest impact on human beings the flush toilet invention was the most favorite one than even electric bulb or steam engine.

In India,the editorial points out,majority of the population,63.8 crore,still has no access to modern toilet facility."they defecate in the open,accounting to 58 percent of the world population,which does so". In this regard India is number two after Ethiopia with no toilets.

It is certainly a national shame when "people easing themselves on railway tracks and along national highways", the editorial asserts.

Attention India,it's government, the ever vocal media and the basic hygienic- lacking educated middle class,the issue of providing toilets is as pressing as Anna's campaign against corruption and much more urgent than the demand for Chidambaram's resignation.

Ask the man at a railway track which issue is more important,corruption,resignation or toilet,and you get the national survey on the issue.