Jagjit Singh (08 February 1941 – Forever)

Posted: October 9, 2014 by moifightclub in music
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Not everyone listens to Jagjit Singh these days. Not everyone knows Jagjit Singh. For the those of us who have grown up with his ghazals, it is an impossible task to pick up the ‘favorite’ or ‘top 10 ghazals’ from the vast treasure-trove he left behind for us. On his 3rd death anniversary, this post is not an attempt to pick his ‘top’ ghazals.

Yours truly is known to gate-crash any music discussion about Jagjit Singh that takes place on social media platforms like Twitter or Facebook. This post is a result of my secret excursions to various discussions about Jagjit Singh and how those discussions are almost always hijacked by somewhat ‘popular’ ghazals from the man. I am enlisting few ghazals which I haven’t seen being discussed much. I have deliberately chosen albums from the later part of his life because the ‘sound’ agrees more to a first time/new listener.

1. Aaj fir unka saamna hoga – This was first featured in the album Love is blind. By the time of its release, the ‘jagjit singh album release event’ was anticipated eagerly by ghazal lovers. The mood, the anticipation all pitch perfect here, I particularly love the first antara that goes

आसमान रो रहा है दो दिन से,

आपने कुछ कहा सुना होगा..

2. Aap se gila aapki kasam – This was featured in the album ‘Unique’. Hear the helplessness in Jagjit singh’s voice when, in the first antara the part comes that goes ‘उसकी क्या खता, ला-दावा है ग़म’ and you will know what I mean. Jagjit Singh is to be credited with bringing a better ‘sound’ (thanks to his earlier days collaborator, Mr. Daman Sood, the magician sound engineer), to Indian ghazals. Hear how the violin takes you to your loved ones, everytime it appears in the ghazal. That said, my favorite part in the ghazal remains

खीचते रहे, उम्र भर मुझे

एक तरफ खुदा, एक तरफ सनम.

3. Main Rahe Meena rahe – This was featured in Mirage for the first time and was an HMV release. I remember buttering my parents properly to pick up the ‘sheer magic’ version of this cassette. Sheer magic used to be a ‘better’ quality cassette by HMV. Side A, last ghazal it used to be. Just hear the rich use of rubaab in the ghazal along with the melancholic yet flirty flute to get lost in the magic of this beautiful ghazal. My favorite part remains

हश्र भी तो हो चुका, रुख से नहीं हटती नकाब

हद भी आखिर कुछ है कब तक कोई दीवाना रहे

4. Mausam ko isharon se bula kyu nahi lete – This was featured in the album titled Sajda. The pace is delicate, the words are probing and Jagjit Singh captures the tone of a lover in a charming way which we haven’t come across since he has left us. My favorite part remains

तुम जाग रहे हो, मुझे अच्छा नहीं लगता

चुपके से मेरी नींद उड़ा क्यों नहीं देते?

5. Dushman ko bhi seene se lagana nahi bhooley – Yet another ghazal from the album Mirage. I rarely see this ghazal being discussed. Apart from the wonderful rubaab that starts the ghazal, hear the veiled anger of Jagjit singh in the antara that goes ‘कुछ लोग अभी आग लगाना नहीं भूले’. My favorite part remains

ये बात अलग, हाथ कलम हो गए अपने

हम आप की तस्वीर बनाना नहीं भूले

6. Dairo haram mein – This one comes from the magnificent album titled ‘face to face’. I haven’t come across many ghazals of Jagjit Singh which are composed in this tempo and sung with such attitude! Just hear Jagjit singh (ably supported by the wonderful backup vocalists) goes

तूफ़ान से हम टकरायेंगे

तुम अपनी कश्ती को संभालो

7. Ye kaisi Mohabbat – Featured in the album ‘Desires’, was released by Weston if I remember right. Penned by ‘Gumnaam’ (Surinder malik), it pretty much would be one of the best pieces of poetry that you will come across all ghazals from the maestro. My favorite part still remains

वो दामन हो उनका, के सुनसान सेहरा

बस हमको तो आखिर हैं, आंसू बहाने

8. Ishq ki daastaan hai pyaare – This was sung by Jagjit singh in Shimla concert If I remember right. It was then released by HMV in an album titled – Live with jagjit singh. I cannot remember any other ghazal  that used a seemingly ‘ghazal inappropriate’ word like ‘pyarey’ so well. My favorite part remains

हम ज़माने से इन्तेकाम तो लें

एक हसीन दरमियान है प्यारे

9. Din guzar gaya – The ghazal that Jagjit Singh sung along with Chitra Singh. It was featured in the album ‘Someone Somewhere’. There is love, submission and pain all in one ghazal. Hear it to know why it is perhaps the most heartbreaking ghazal of this list. I can never go beyond my favorite part which remains

उनकी एक नज़र, काम कर गयी

होश अब कहाँ, होशियार में..

10. Ye Zindagi – A somewhat gloomy Nazm which was featured first in ‘Insight’. In my view it somehow got overshadowed because ‘Garaj baras pyaasi dharti pe, phir paani de maula’ and this ghazal from ‘Neem ka ped’ was also featured in the same album. If there was ever a composition that made you pause and reflect, it is this!

I can go on and on but when Jagjit Singh decided to stop on 10 October 2011, it is impossible that I would enlist anything beyond the number 10 in this post. Do suggest your favorite ‘not so popular’ work from Jagjit Singh.

Not everyone listens to Jagjit Singh these days. Not everyone explores Jagjit Singh. I wonder why.


  1. Amit says:

    wo ik sharaara.. jo is ghadi naam hai tumhara! 🙂

  2. Shruti says:

    Ah that’s a good list. I remember being 8 yrs old and going to a Jagjit Singh concert at Rang Bhavan with my parents. Even at that age, with my limited knowledge of music and Urdu/Hindi, that experience was surreal! That’s how good a singer he was! And he’s still one of my favorite singers!
    Also, I’d add “Dost ban ban ke mile” and “Gham bade aate hain” to this list. Haunting composition, with flawless vocals! And “Maikhaane ki baat na kar” verse from Gham ka khazaana is pure class too!

  3. “Main chahta bhi yehi tha, woh bewafa nikley….
    Usey samajhne ka koi toh silsila nikley….”

    I recorded this from AIR, on an audio cassette. The maestro rendered it in a concert. Can’t forget his words which go like this –

    ये ग़ज़ल जनाब वसीम बरेलवी साहब की है. और अभी जो मैने शेर पढ़ा वो असल में थोड़ा
    सा अलग है –

    किताब-ए-माज़ी के औराक़ उलट के देख ज़रा
    न जाने कौन सा सफ़हा मुड़ा हुआ निकले

    लीजिए, अगला शेर पेश कर रहा हूँ….

  4. My all time favorite was penned by Gulzar for a TV serial on DD called “Hello Zindagi” and sung by Jagjit Singh. The serial was about the compromises we make in life. The rendition is soulful to say the least and is a play on the serial’s tile, goes,

    Hai Lau, zindangi, Zindagi noor hai
    Magar isme jalne ka dastoor hai

    adhure se rishton mein jalte raho
    adhuri si saanson mein palte raho
    magar jeeye jane ka dastor hai
    magar jeeye jane ka dastor hai

    ravayat hai ke, zindagi gehra hai
    yeh hira hai aur, chatte rahna nai
    magar jeeye jane ka dastor hai
    magar jeeye jane ka dastor hai

    Later, I heard the version which was released as part of an album. It does not hold water against the brilliant original.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Rohwit. Am touched to see and read ‘passion for ghazals and esp. Mr Singh’s (that’s the way I address him) silken voice sill existing’. Am colating information about al tshis concerts, sponsors, venue, organisers, print material produced et al. Can someone add to this bit with authentic verifiable information? Sheen

  6. Ashoo says:

    Thank you for this wonderful tribute!

    I’ll always be a slightly greater fan of Jagjit and Chitra together than Jagjit alone. Their voices, the perfect foil, bringing and highlighting the best in each other.. Chitra- the bright, feminine, sharp, eager. Jagjit- the soft, mellow,solemn and calm. And the love showed when they sang together.

    Though it may not qualify as a great song for many but just listen to “Mere jaise ban jaoge jab Ishq tumhe ho jaayega” and you will know what I mean.

    And in another one where Jagjit sings- “Dekha tujhe, socha tujhe, chaha tujhe, pooja tujhe” you can feel the devotion; and then when Chitra goes ” Jispar hamari aankh ne moti bichaye raat bhar” in the same, you feel the pain, that goes hand in hand with love..

    And I can never ever tire of listening to “Bahut pehle se un kadmon ki aahat”- what beauty, what soul!

    Well, all we can say about Jagjit is – “tabiyat apni ghabrati hai jab sunsaan raaton mein , hum aise mein teri yaadon ki chaadar taan lete hain” because his songs are what our memories are made of… and they still see us through many a bad day!

    • @Rohwit says:

      Tum meri ghazalein gaogey jab ishq tumhein ho jayega…absolutely wonderful, that ghazal. It was from ecstasies. Clever observation on the the styles and yes..thank you for suggesting the other ghazals as well..all favorites!

      • Ashoo says:

        Tum meri ghazalein gaogey jab ishq tumhein ho jayega- , true words those.. it is certainly “Ishq” for his voice and talent because of which we keep singing his ghazals!

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