Thought Box

Stayin’ Alive: Pt. Jasrajji

Stayin’ Alive: Pt. Jasrajji

by Monarose Sheila Pereira August 25 2020, 5:32 pm Estimated Reading Time: 5 mins, 59 secs

Senior musicians speak to Monarose Sheila Pereia, to pay their tributes to the great legend Pandit Jasrajji, who passed away on 17 August 2020, in New Jersey, USA.

Indian classical vocalist, Pandit Jasraj belonged to the Mewati Gharana. With a musical career of 75 years he enjoyed respect, national and international fame and received several awards.

Kala Ramnath, Violinist

What do I say about my guruji? He was the father I did not have while growing up; the best guru one could have had and a very generous person in everything he did. Today whatever I am is due to his generosity, which I consider his greatest blessing on me.

Music is so abstract that one cannot visualize the placement of notes. But he made me visualize them in my mind - the microtones in every melody. I have traveled with him far and wide and he has always appreciated not only me but also many upcoming musicians who had something to offer in their art.

It was always instant appreciation. He never kept anything to himself. He just breathed music all the time, teaching us while at the dining table during lunch, during travel; he was always immersed in music.

As a person, he has been very kind and caring to all his students, treating us like his family; taking care of us when we stayed with him to learn music and not charging us a single penny for giving us the knowledge that he parted with so generously.

He has taken us to watch movies, to restaurants - lovely memories. It is really hard to accept that I won’t be able to see him anymore. Panditji is a great loss to music and a big personal loss to all of his students including me. He knew me as a child. He knew my family. He did my first concert at 12 when I was not even his student.

I play his style on the violin and therefore I am hailed as the Singing Violin. I was born in a family of musicians. So when my first concert was held at the age of 12 he presented me in the world of music. I learnt his vocal style and trained for 15 years with him. I learnt to play whatever he sang exactly on the violin. Yes, I also learnt vocal music from him.

Anup Jalota, Bhajan Samrat

Pandit Jasrajji was the Tansen of Contemporary Classical Music. He made classical music very sweet and loving; he used to sing devotedly.

Lately people started taking interest in his music. Because of the sweetness in Panditji’s music, the younger generation was greatly inspired. This is the only reason that all his national and international schools and academies of music are flooded with youth to learn classical music.

Conclusively, I will say that it is a great loss that such a great musician is not anymore with us. What more honor can somebody be given than that NASA in America named a planet after Pandit Jasrajji's name. With this, even our country is respected worldwide. Panditji will always be immortal.

Penaz Masani, Ghazal singer

Today, the 17th of Aug 2020 is indeed a very sad day due to the devastating news of the sad demise of Sangeet Martand Padma Vibhushan Pandit Jasrajji.

He has not only been a wonderful classical vocalist of the Mewati Gharana, most revered amongst artistes, singing his heart out to millions of his fans and admirers across the globe, but he was also a great teacher to hundreds of students who thronged his institute to imbibe the art of Indian classical music.

A very humble and a great human being he was truly respected and loved. In fact he was the only Indian Artiste who has a small planet named after him 'Panditjasraj'. May his soul rest in eternal peace and God give strength to Durga and Mataji and other members of his family to bear this huge loss. He has left behind an impeccable legacy, which will be treasured by one and all.

Manuraj Rajput, Flutist

Padma Vibhushan PT Jasrajji's (Bapuji) musical career spanned more than 80 years and led to numerous awards. His performances of classical and semi-classical vocals have become albums and film soundtracks. Bapuji has taught music in India, Canada and the US. Asteroid 300128 Panditjasraj, discovered by astronomers with the Mount Lemmon Survey in 2006, was named in his honor. The official naming citation was published by the Minor Planet Center on 27 August 2019. I feel honored that I got a chance to perform before him and got his blessings.

Amrit Kanjira, Kanjira player

Pandith Jasrajji's passing away is one of the greatest losses to Indian classical music. I was immensely blessed to meet and share the stage with Bapuji (the way we would fondly and respectfully address him).

His keen observation, thought process and approach towards music even at that ripe age was unbelievable. He gave me some important tips, which I have applied in my music. Sharing the stage and interacting with Bapuji was, is and will be one of the high points of musical and personal life. His life journey is a lesson to everyone.

Anand Dhotre, Flutist and flute designer

Pandit Jasrajji was not a vocalist but an institution. He expanded the Mewati gharana tradition and made it a national symbol of Indian classical music. Whenever I would see Panditji at Pandit Chaurasia’s gurukul or otherwise, I would be appalled by his down to earth nature and such humbleness. Panditji used to be ever blissful in his riyaz and those who would listen to them would have the same feeling.

I was blessed to witness the maestro presenting quite a few times during my acquaintance with him. We have lost an important chapter from our tradition but he has handed over his legacy for us to keep safe. In my opinion, that would be the best way to pay respect to Panditji.

Padmakar Nandekar, erstwhile Zonal Manager Children's Film Society of India, President Universal Foundation

With a heavy heart I am writing a few words in the honor and memory of Pandit Jasrajji, a legendary vocalist of our times. He was a person par excellence and God gifted in his profession. The proof is that he was guru and master of the Nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkarji.

He will be remembered as the father of the music industry. Apart from giving Lata Mangeshkarji to us he has given his own blood daughter who is personally trained by the maestro himself - the most talented and pretty Durga Jasraj. Rest in Peace guruji.

Ranjani Gehani, Singer and author of the best selling book, Alankars - The Riyaz Manual

Pandit Jasrajji, the great legendary singer, was and will forever be one of the strongest pillars of Hindustani classical music. What I experience when I hear him sing is out of this world. As a listener, I get pulled into this Divine conversation, losing all sense of time, space and my own individuality; experiencing a surreal world - one with the Supreme Consciousness! The wonderful collection of Panditji's songs will always be a treasure trove for one and all, to experience the ultimate Nirvana!  

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The writers are solely responsible for any claims arising out of the contents of this article.