Jaggu Dada Memories

20 years gone by. It must be month of October in B Top in Hall 2 at IIT Kanpur in 1991. Harmless looking Amit Jain landed in my room. I know you won’t recognize that name. Nobody called him by that name. Even he might have forgotten it during college days. But then to protect my facade of decency, let me still call him Amit Jain. For people who know him, know his other name for sure and for people who don’t know let him be Amit Jain. I don’t think his neighbors from C Top were too fond of him and may be that was the reason why he landed up in my room. Anyway he did add value to my room as he brought a red color music system, a prized possession for us as students in those days. There  were haves and then there were havenots and former were always welcome by the latter. Along with the red music system there were lot of cassetes and most of them I did not understand as they were some form of english music which was unadulterated noise to my hindi medium type ( aka HMT ) music sense. Anyway there were two cassetes which made much more sense to me and they were songs from the serial Mirza Ghalib in Jagjeet Singh’s voice. It was tough for me to understand that poetry as my urdu knowledge was limited. But Jagjeet Singh’s voice kept me tuned in to the cassetes and listening to them became a favorite past time.


Few years passed by and we were organizing the cultural festival in IIT Kanpur. Jagjit Singh was the artist of choice. All of us worked tirelessly to make his event successful but I missed watching him live as I was busy with handling other responsibilities in the festival. Time flew and landed up in Bangalore to start my career with Infosys. Few month’s salary and some borrowed money and I was proud owner of a music system and Ghalib cassetes in Jagjit Singh voice were my prized possessions again. Spent countless days and nights listening to the velvety voice immersed in deep Ghalib poetry on the lovely terrace house we had in JP Nagar.


And the Ghalib CDs still occupy the maximum air time in my car today. That is the beauty of great artists. They never die. They live in our hearts, in our cars and in our rooms. So all I can tell you Jaggu Dada, thanks a lot for being a part of my life. You have enriched it and same holds true for music lovers. As you immerse yourself in deep sleep, all I would like to tell you is that you will be missed, loved and most importantly listened to again and again and again…..


This is the first song I loved in his voice.


  1. Birla, reading your post – was thinking how and when I was introduced to Jagjit Singh… and yes, its been 20 years for me too, in college… Another Amit in BHU was a big Jagjit fan and he too had a red boom box that was much abused. 🙂

    Really sad at his demise. His voice had magic.

  2. Mayank

    Yes, I remember it very vividly. Sidharth Sikdar (Junior; not the senior – Senior Sikdar graduated by that time) made a pencil sketch of Jagjit Singh for publicity posters and Anurag Purwar did the stage decoration for the main show while I has at the helm of the publicity cell (that BKB mocked so much because it always relied on his band of volunteers (Dharamshi was the leader of that gang) to get the job done … people respected and loved our work but they always wanted to hang out with BKB even then).
    Jagjit Singh playfully paused during his “Hontho se chholo tum” and asked the audience “If they wonder what really is the sound of payaal chhankati tum aa jao jeevan mein” … and he sang that payaal chhankahat in his silken voice with all the audience in the state of disbelief … it sounded simply out of this world … I feel blessed to have that experience in my life 🙂

  3. nicely written about Jagjit Singh. No doubt JS was the magician who popularized ghazals among the masses and specially youth all over the world, ghazals earlier used to please only nawabs , riches and few elite music lovers,ssad that he is no more, and unfortunate I’am who missed several chances to see him in live performances.

  4. amit

    very well written BKB, i still remembered the days when we were graced to hear the voice of jaggu at IIT. he was a great singer and and surely this is the result of his endeavors that gazal is now very popular amongst the common man.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *