New Delhi, (Samajweekly) It was a long journey for the six-year-old who, on his way to school stopped the moment Begum Akhtar’s ghazal ‘Deewana banana hai to deewana bana de’ wafted from a small shop. They say everything changed for that little boy in that pause. The one who the world would later know as Pandit Jasraj — someone who let go of strict geometrical precision by bringing an element of devotional singing to Khayal.
Not shying away from incorporating elements from other gharanas, he summoned to spaces a peculiar spiritual content and consciousness — that otherworldly aspect every musician forever strives for. Remember ‘Shyam Bina’? The love, the longing, the searching, the wait, the feeling of disappearing into oneself, and that final ‘escape’… Krishna must have stood still somewhere today, if only to acknowledge the passing away of Pt. Jasraj who died of cardiac arrest at his home in the US on Monday.
He was 90, but would still stop to admire a musical note, to say gracious things that would make a musician’s day. And yes, he seldom missed a game of international cricket or hockey whenever India played.
During a long illustrious career spanning eight decades, the maestro, who was initiated into vocal training at the age of 14, later trained as a tabla accompanist under his elder brother Pandit Pratap Narayan. He trained as a classical vocalist with Pandit Maniram, and later with Jaiwant Singh Waghela, Gulam Qadir KhanAand Swami Vallabhas Damulji to give his first solo concert at the age of 22 in Nepal.
A specialist in Haveli Sangeet, who also created ‘Jasrangi Jugalbandi’, the maestro, who belonged to the Mewati gharana is remembered by contemporaries and juniors not just as an artiste who never shied away from reinventing himself, but also an individual who had reached a stage where it was tough to differentiate between the man from his art...