We bow in obeisance Pandit Jasraj

Just came to know that the doyen of classical Hindustani music Pt Jasraj is no more. He breathed his last at US and died of cardiac arrest.

He belonged to mewati gharana and had an illustrious lineage. His father Pt Motiram was a doyen himself as were his elder brothers Pt Maniram and Pt Pratap Narayan.

Pt Jasraj had a charm around him, the way Pt Ravi Shankar had that attracted music lovers towards him, who would listen to his performances spellbound for hours. Though a torch bearer of his gharana, he was not a stickler for being a purist and experimented a lot in his lifetime. He sang bhajans, semi classical and other forms such as Multani and Sufi with equal aplomb. Highly honoured in his lifetime, Panditji got his Padma Vibhushan in the year 2000. But his greatness was not slave of any honour and his contribution to Hindustani classical music goes much beyond any recognition or honour.

While I have witnessed his performances umpteen number of times on TV and YouTube, I had the rare opportunity of listening to Panditji’s performance live at a musical evening organised at the Kolkata residence of Suresh Neotia, promoter of Ambuja Cement, a diehard music lover himself. I was held spellbound by several greats like Girija Devi and Panditji’s performance was an icing on the cake.

His children Durga Jasraj and Shaarang Dev are music exponents in their own right and his extended musical family includes famous music duo of Jatin Lalit, Sulakshana Pandit, Vijayeta Pandit, Devaki Pandit and late music director Adesh Srivastava.

Panditji leaves behind a rich legacy in the form of his work as also his disciples, including his children and other family members. However, the chasm and vacuum created by his death will be very hard to bridge for talents like Panditji are not born every day.

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