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Pandit Jasraj- Indian under Spotlight

Pandit Jasraj- Indian under Spotlight

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Great Hindustani vocalist Pandit Jasraj is not new to Paris as he comes here for his concerts. We put spotlight on the 'Sangeet Martand' for the benefit of our readers.


Pandit Jasraj
courtesy: TDLV, Paris & Senseworld Music


Pandit Jasraj had musical initiation quite early in his life. He was born in the Hisar district of Haryana state in 1930 in a musical family. His grandfather Pandit Jyotiram, father Pandit Motiram and elder brother, Pandit Maniram were all acclaimed vocalists and composers steeped in the tradition of Mewati gharana* of Jodhpur (Rajasthan).


Pandit Motiram was a renowned singer in the royal court of the Nizam. He started initiating young Jasraj into music at the age of three. Unfortunately the training did not continue for long as Pandit Motiram died shortly after. However, that did not deter Jasraj from pursuing his musical leanings under his brother Pandit Maniram's tutelage, more so, as he was fascinated by the music of singer Begum Akhtar and wanted to be a singer himself. It is said that Bade Ghulam Ali Khan invited him to be his disciple but the latter declined since he already considered himself a disciple of his father.


Pandit Jasraj has greatly contributed to the lineage of Hindustani classical vocals, in general, and the Mewati Gharana, in particular. He has created some extraordinary bandish. Based on the ancient 'moorchana' system, Jasrangi Jugalbandi, a form of Jugalbandi** is his most exclusive contribution wherein male and female vocalists blend different scales and ragas simultaneously. More than 80 years old, Pandit Jasraj continues to be active and teach students in the gurukul style***. Some of his disciples include Tripti Mukherjee, Pt. Rattan Mohan Sharma, Sanjeev Abhyankar, Bollywood singer Sadhana Sargam etc.


His music academy in New York, 'Pandit Jasraj Institute of Music' , co-founded with his disciple Tripti Mukherjee, is dedicated to furthering the Indian classical music in the tradition of Mewati gharana.


The institute holds annual workshops, student concerts, lecture-demonstration, debates, music competitions and voluntary services throughout the year. It also brings out a publication devoted to music entitled "JasRangi" which is available from the PJIM Website.

 Pandit Jasraj
courtesy: TDLV, Paris & Senseworld Music


For his contribution to Indian music, Pandit Jasraj has been awarded with the title 'Sangeet Martand' or the Sun of the music. He has been felicitated with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award- the highest Indian recognition given to practising artists- in 1987 and the Padma Vibhushan- India's second highest civilian honour- in 2000. He was also been given other awards such as the Sangeet Kala Ratna, Maharashtra Gaurav Puraskar, Lata Mangeshkar Puraskar, the Sangeet Natak Academy Fellowship etc.


Pandit Jasraj is married to film director V.Shantaram's daughter Madhura who is herself a film director. She made a film on Pandit Jasraj entitled ā€˜Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasrajā€™- a part of the ā€˜Moments with the Maestrosā€™ series- presented by the Films Division in IFFI Goa-2009. On her husband, Madhura Jasraj said that he does 'riyaz' for 12 hours everyday as per a press release of ministry of information and broadcasting. Their daughter Durga Jasraj is a television presenter and son Sarang Dev is a music director.

*Gharanas are the schools of music that were established with continual practice of musical discipline in a particular place over generations.

** Jugalbandi, in Indian classical music, is a duet of two solo musicians, each playing their respective instruments in tandem with the other. Jugalbandi could be between vocalists and instrumental players from different traditions.

***Indian classical music follows a Guru-Shishya parampara or a teacher-pupil lineage that is passed on orally through the gurukul system. The pupil devotes himself to the discipline whereas the mentor, sensing the commitment and dedication on part of the disciple, inducts the latter into his teachings. The humblest of vlocalists claim that learning thus is a life time process however, in a more pragmatic sense, there are disciples who attain a certain level.



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