Jagjit Singh's performance for parliamentarians

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New Delhi, Sep12: It was a signature performance by ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh as he serenaded the parliamentarians with songs, some of which were seeped in history, others in romance and his all-time favourites.

The ghazal king was at his mellifluous best, displaying modulation and flexibility he is known for, mesmerising the political establishment and gentry at an evening of exceptional elegance and pure symphony.

The legend, during his barely two-hour performance, not only delved into the past and unfolded minds, but also laced up the legacy of the freedom struggle and in the end struck a common chord with the listeners.

Mounted by Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) in tandem with the House Committee of the Rajya Sabha, the concert at GMC Balayogi Auditorium in Parliament Library Building was part of the events to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the First War of Independence, 1857 and the 60th anniversary of freedom.

Jagjit Singh picked up the cue and commenced his performance by a rendition of last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar's ''Naa Kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon.'' The emperor, known more for his poetry than his actions as a king, wrote it when he was exiled to Rangoon (Yangon) by the British Empire.

Nearly 150 years ago, a sad and forlorn Bahadur Shah Zafar wrote that ''I am no longer adored by anyone and of the four days I got to live my life, two went in desire and the other two in waiting.'' He bemoaned that though he was an emperor, he did not even get two yards of land for his burial in his beloved country.

Next in line were a slew of ghazals from the legenadary Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. The concert was not without humour as Jagjit Singh explained how a lover is compelled to tell lies to please and pamper a woman. In a lighter vein, he sang how the taste of tamarind turns bland and honey becomes bitter on being separated from the beloved.

This evoked laughter from the mighty and hardened among the audience.

Those who had come to hear the ghazal moghul included Vice-President Hamid Ansari, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, ICCR President and Rajya Sabha member Karan Singh, Information and Broadcasting Minister P R Dasmunsi and Lok Sabha member Jagdish Tytler.

The programme also included all-time hits of Jagjit Singh -- 'Hoothon se choo kar tum, mera geet amar kar do', 'Ye kagaj ki kashti, ye baarish ka pani' and 'Sarakti jaye hai, rukh se naqab aahista, aahista'.

Asha Bhonsle, in a recent interview, had stated that she falls asleep everyday after listening to Jagjit Singh's ghazals. The maestro's performance last night had a sporofic effect on the audience and soothened the nerves of parliamentarins, who had undergone a gruelling experience during the Monsoon Session due to a political stand-off on the Indo-US nuclear deal.

Barely 24 hours after Parliament was prematurely adjourned sine die on the issue, Jagjit Singh gave ample demonstration of how the vocal chord can be used with a telling effect.


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