Mumbai: Ghazal king Jagjit Singh, the soul-stirring voice behind 'Hazaron khwaishe aisi', 'Ye kaghaz ki kashti and 'Jhuki jhuki si nazar', died on Monday morning after he suffered brain haemorrhage.

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Mortal Body, Immortal Voice

The 70-year-old singer, who alongwith his wife Chitra almost rediscovered the ghazal genre for common Indian in 70s and 80s, was admitted to the Lilavati hospital on September 23 and was in coma since then.

"Jagjit Singh passed away at 8.10 AM after having a terrible hemorrhage," said Dr Sudhir Nandgaonkar, hospital spokesperson, here.

The day he was admitted, he was supposed to perform at a concert at Shanmukhananda Hall, Matunga, in Mumbai but the programme was cancelled after he was taken ill.

Despite a surgery, his condition did not improve and he remained on life support.

Singh, a Padma Bhushan recipient, was born in Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan, on February 8, 1941.

Music world mourns Jagjit Singh's demise

Mourning the loss of Jagjit Singh, singing legends Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle and fellow ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas said that his demise has left a void in the music world.

"It is a great loss for the music industry but it is a greater personal loss for me. I knew him well. I hoped he would come out of the coma. But, God willed otherwise. He worked very hard... sang from the heart. Listening to him, people got intoxicated," said Lata Mangeshkar.

Expressing grief over the death of the legend, Asha Bhonsle said that there will never be a person like him again.

"We will never get a person like him again. I last met him at the GIMA Awards, we sat together and he asked me to cook some dish for him. When he went in the hospital, we all thought that he will come out fine from the hospital.

"He had a soothing voice, and was a very cheerful person. He overcame his personal tragedies with a smile on his face. I am feeling very sad for Chitra 'bhabhi'," Bhonsle said.

Udhas said, "I knew him for the last 40 years. We will never find a person like him who was so dedicated towards his craft. Music was not a profession for him, it was a passion.

"He was the one who created non-film music in those days. He took ghazal singing to another level. By nature, he was a fighter. I have many fond memories with him. He really left a legacy behind. It is a big loss to the music industry," added Udhas.

An emotional Usha Uthup said she still can't believe that the Singh is no more.

"I can't believe it. It was because of him that ordinary men could enjoy good Ghazal. We worked together in a jingle when I was just staring my career. He is the person who introduced the 12 string guitar and the bass guitar in ghazal singing, in a way no one could. I spoke to him recently. What a human being. It is a great loss," said Uthup.

"I first heard him when I attended an event at IIT Kanpur named 'Music Night by Jagjit and Chitra' while in school. He was an icon. There is nothing I can say to console her (Chitra). All I can say is that he will never be forgotten. I pray to God to give her the strength to recover from the loss," said Shubha Mudgal.

"Jagjit Ji passes away. One of the saddest days for all us music lovers. The golden voice will not sing anymore. Rest in peace," said Shreya Ghoshal.

When the ghazal lost its king!

Meanwhile, stirring millions of hearts with his soulful numbers 'Jhuki jhuki si nazar' and 'Kaagaz ki kashti', ghazal king Jagit Singh infused a new life in the dying genre of music in the seventies and carved a niche for himself in Bollywood.

The pain and melancholy in his voice gave vent to the feelings of many a lonely heart.

Conjuring up hits like 'yeh zindagi kisi aur ki, mere naam ka koi aur hai,' 'Patta-patta boota-boota haal hamaara jaane hai,' 'Hontho se chhoo lo tum, 'Tum ko dekha', 'Hazaar baar ruke ham and hazaar baar chale', Singh made a mark during the '70s when the ghazal scene was dominated by well-established names like Noor Jehan, Malika Pukhraj, Begum Akhtar, Talat Mahmood and Mehdi Hassan.

The voice behind the timeless ghazals was inspired by singers like K L Sehgal, Talat Mahmood, Abdul Karim Khan, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and Amir Khan.

One of the most successful and loved artistes of his time, he has left behind a huge body of work in a career spanning five decades, including 80 albums.

Often called the 'Ghazal King' by his fans and peers, Jagjit was born on February 8, 1941 in Sriganganagar, Rajasthan, to Amar Singh Dhiman, a government employee, and Bachan Kaur. He had four sisters and two brothers and was called Jeet by his family.

He was raised as a Sikh by religion. His birth name was Jagmohan but his Sikh father rechristened him as Jagjit following the advice of his guru.

It was his father, who first recognised his son's talent. He sent young Jagjit to learn the nuances of music under a blind teacher, Pandit Chhaganlal Sharma. He later trained under Ustad Jamal Khan of Sainia gharana for six-years and gained knowledge in Khayal, Thumri and Dhrupad forms.

Singh was of the view that music was for inspiration and not for competition. "The moment one brings competition into music, the soul is lost."

In a recent interview to a news agency, he had regretted the fact that devotion and practice were disappearing from music at a time when everyone was running after instant fame.
"Music is a vast subject. There is mathematics and grammar in music. Unless one knows all of it, he cannot become good singer. One should learn music for 15 years before actually trying their hands at singing ghazals," he had said.

Among his most memorable numbers were 'Tum itna jo muskara rahe ho', 'Apni Marzi Se Kahan Apne Safar Ke Hum Hain' and 'Pehle Har Cheez Thi Apni Magar Ab Lagta Hai Apne Hi Ghar Mein Kisi Doosre Ghar Ke Hum Hain'.

His last concert was planned with Ghulam Ali on September 23 at Shanmukhananda Hall, Matunga, in Mumbai but was cancelled after he was taken ill the same day. The duo had given a stirring performance days ago in Delhi.

Singh began his musical journey singing 'shabads' or devotional songs in gurudwaras. He studied in DAV College, Jalandhar where his fee was waived because of his voice. He got a chance as professional singer in Jalandhar's All India
Radio station, which offered him six live music segments a year for small payments.

But success was a faraway dream for the singer, who came to Mumbai in 1961 to try his luck in playback singing but after some failed attempts, a dispirited Singh returned to Jalandhar.

Not one to give up, the ghazal maestro decided to give himself another chance and returned to the city of dreams in 1965. Singh managed to get two of his ghazals recorded with HMV. This was also the time when he decided to do away with his turban and hair.

However, playback singing continued to elude him and he earned by composing jingle, ad films and documentaries. He met his wife Chitra during one such recording and after two years, they decided to marry in 1970, which was also a turning point in his career.

Bollywood's loss was ghazal's gain, as Jagjit's fresh voice infused a new life into the dying genre, which was confined to select admirers. In 1975, HMV asked Jagjit to compose his first ever LP album 'The Unforgettables'. The album featured Jagjit-Chitra ghazals, which were completely different.