Condoling the death of Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said that his demise has left a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere. One of India’s greatest music legends, Pandit Jasraj died on Monday following a cardiac arrest at his home in New Jersey, his daughter Durga Jasraj said. He was 90.
“The unfortunate demise of Pandit Jasraj Ji leaves a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere. Not only were his renditions outstanding, he also made a mark as an exceptional mentor to several other vocalists. Condolences to his family and admirers worldwide. Om Shanti,” the prime minister tweeted. Along with the tweet, Modi also posted old pictures of him felicitating the maestro.
The unfortunate demise of Pandit Jasraj Ji leaves a deep void in the Indian cultural sphere. Not only were his renditions outstanding, he also made a mark as an exceptional mentor to several other vocalists. Condolences to his family and admirers worldwide. Om Shanti. pic.twitter.com/6bIgIoTOYB
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 17, 2020
Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu and Chief Minister of Delhi Arvind Kejriwal also penned tributes to the musical legend.
प्रख्यात संगीतविद् और गायक पंडित जसराज जी के निधन पर दुखी हूं, उनका निधन भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत जगत के लिए बड़ी क्षति है। शोक की इस घड़ी में उनके परिजनों और प्रशंसकों के प्रति हार्दिक संवेदना व्यक्त करता हूं। ईश्वर दिवंगत आत्मा को आशीर्वाद दें। ओम शांति pic.twitter.com/IWQU6ITbJP
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) August 17, 2020
भारतीय शास्त्रीय संगीत के विश्वविख्यात नाम पंडित जसराज जी के निधन की दुखद ख़बर मिली। शास्त्रीय संगीत कला को पंडित जसराज जी एक नए आयाम पर लेकर गए। ऐसी महान दिवंगत आत्मा को प्रभु अपने श्री चरणों में स्थान दें और उनके अनगिनत चाहने वालों को इस दुख को सहने का साहस दें।
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) August 17, 2020
With a career spanning over more than seven decades, Pandit Jasraj was a recipient of various prestigious awards and honours including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan.
Born in the Hisar region of Haryana in 1930, Jasraj belonged to a family of musicians. His father Pandit Motiram and brothers—Pratap Narayan and Maniram—were also accomplished musicians.
Many of his family members belonged to the Mumbai film industry including nephews Jatin-Lalit and nieces Sulakshana and Vijeta Pandit.
He married director V Shantaram’s daughter Madhura in 1962, and had two kids—daughter Durga and son Shaarang Dev.
In the year 2009, Madhura even made a film based on the life and accomplishments of Pandit Jasraj. It was titled Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj.
Jasraj started as a table player at an early age but soon turned to singing. He sang on radio for years before starting experimenting with his music. He became known for mixing the elements of traditional ‘khayal’ with ‘thumri’, which made the tone a little lighter but very effective. It was his effort to make the classical music more accessible to the general audience which took him to film music.
He collaborated with Pandit Bhimsen Joshi for the music of Birbal My Brother in 1975. One of his last songs were in Vikram Bhatt film 1920, it was titled ‘Vaada Tumse Hain Vaada’.
With many of the big names in both, Indian classical and film music, as his students, Jasraj also opened music schools in many parts of the world. He, along with Pandit Ravi Shankar, made the Indian music popular in the west.
A minor planet, between Mars and Jupiter, was named after Pandit Jasraj last year. He became the first Indian musician to join the galaxy of immortal composers like Mozart, Beethoven and Tenor Luciano Pavarotti.