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Music maestro moves on to illuminate another dimension

Legendary Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj passed away at the age of 90 in New Jersey on Monday. A statement issued by Pandit Jasraj’s family read, “With profound grief we inform that Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj ji breathed his last this morning at 5.15 EST due to a cardiac arrest at his home in New Jersey, USA.” 

One of the doyens of Indian classical music, Pandit Ji is survived by wife Madhura, daughter Durga and son Sharang Dev. 

The music maestro was honored with all three Padma awards (Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan). He was known for his classical singing and thumris, and created his own raag as well. Lately, he was teaching music nationally and internationally.

He was the only musician to have a planet named after him. International Astronomical Union (IAU) named minor planet 2006 VP32 (number -300128), discovered on November 11, 2006, as ‘Panditjasraj.’ 

Pandit Jasraj Ji had become the first Indian musician to join the galaxy of immortal composers like Mozart, Beethoven and Tenor Luciano Pavar.

Pandit Jasraj’s death sent the entire nation into mourning, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading tributes for the legend.

“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,” Modi wrote on Twitter. 

President of India Ram Nath Kovind wrote, “Music legend and unparalleled classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj’s passing makes me sad. Spanning a distinguished career of over 8 decades, Pandit Jasraj, a Padma Vibhushan recipient, enthralled people with soulful renditions. Condolence to his family, friends & music connoisseurs.”

Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle also paid their tributes. Lata Ji wrote on Twitter, “Mahan shashtriya gayak aur maa Saraswati ke upasak Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj ji ke swargwas ki kha bar sunkar mujhe aseem dukh hua. Ishwar unki aatma ko shanti de main yehi prarthana karti hun.

The veteran vocalist was remembered by Bollywood stars as well as members of the music fraternity. AR Rahman, Vishal Dadlani, Adnan Sami and other musicians found an outlet on social media and Twitter has been deluged by tributes for Pandit Jasraj. Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman tweeted: “RIP Pandit Jasraj. Indian classical music has lost one of its shining stars.”

“A huge pillar of Hindustani sangeet has fallen today. My heart felt condolence to Pandit Jasraj’s family. I can see him standing on the stage with his arms raised as if he is blessing all of us and in his soft and silken voice for the last time he is saying jai ho,” read lyricist Javed Akhtar’s tweet.

Adnan Sami shared a chunk of memories and wrote in his tweet: “Moments with him are one of the most cherished moments of my life. I learned so much from his music. He encouraged me so much. One of the highlights of my life is him singing my composition. He’s left a musical treasure for us that is immortal! I will miss him.”

Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj (Image courtesy: pjim.org)
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