A humble person who was always there for his shishyas is how Pandit Jasraj is being remembered. The 90-year-old Padma Vibhushan recipient died on August 17 in New Jersey, USA, after a cardiac arrest. His passing away is a personal loss to many whose lives he touched and changed.
About the maestro, Hindustani classical vocalist Ghulam Hasan Khan of Rampur- Sahaswan-Gwalior Gharana says, “The news of Panditji’s passing away came as a shock. He was one of the strongest pillars and greatest vocalists of classical music in India.”
Hasan considers himself lucky to have heard Panditji’s rendition of Raag Puriya Kalyan at the Delhi Classical Music Festival a few years ago and met him on several occasions thereafter.
“But for that an hour, I must confess, I was transported to another world,” he recalls, adding Panditji was an immensely spiritual person.
“He always said, ‘Whenever I close my eyes, there is god and whenever I open my eyes, there is music.’ To us, he was a saint.”
Hasan puts in, adding he learnt to be humble from Panditji. Veteran film journalist and author of 101 Cine Personalities, Pramod Laitu reminisces Pandit Jasraj as one of the most polite human beings a person could ever come across.
“There are loads of remembrances of the great man that he was. His trademark ‘Jai Ho’ to greet people is one thing I can never forget. When I requested him to release my book, he readily agreed to do. The book was released at his residence, which speaks volumes about his humility. In spite of the fact that he was such a big name of Indian classical music, he had no airs, no ego. A simple man to the core. I pray that he now becomes one with the light,” avers Laitu. Hindustani vocalist M Venkatesh Kumar says Pandit Jasraj was always concerned about his students.
“These days, it is impossible to find such gurus who are completely dedicated for their shishyas. It is in centuries such great souls transcend on earth,” he says.