Sangeet Natak Akademi Rattan recipient

March 2012: As a part of the ongoing commemoration of the 150th birth anniversary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, the Sangeet Natak Akademi, the apex body of performing arts in India, has conferred the one-time honour of Tagore Akademi Akademi Rattan  award  to Sri Saguru Jagjit Singh Ji, a maestros in the realms of art. The honour was presented by the President of India.

The spiritual head of the Namdhari Sikh sect, based at  Bhaini Sahib in Punjab, the revered Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji has been credited with preservation and propagation of Indian classical musical arts, gurmat sangeet, sports, religion, philosophy and social awakening. He has also influenced the life of over two million followers the world over. Born to Sri Satguru Partap  Singh and Mata Bhupinder Kaur, he received his education and learning of music initially from his father and guru at Bhaini Sahib, before mastering the nuances of Hindustani vocal, instrumental  classical music and gurmat sangeet from ustaads like Harnam Singh, Udho Khan, Rahim Baksh, Bhai Taba and Bhai Nasir.

An accomplished and brilliant classical vocalist, the Satguru has an adroit mastery of rare compositions of  the traditional Talwandi gharana, old gur rababi keertan, Gurbani dhuniyan, composed in quarter denomination of rhythmic patterns (khand matras), besides Dhrupad dhamar. His versatility encompasses playing all musical instruments with perfection, especially the Dilruba which he plays with his nails, indeed a rare accomplishment.

With an ardent passion for music, he augmented the music training sessions under his care and introduced annual competitions to be held in  Gurbani recitation,  general knowledge, kavi sammelans, dewans and practical training of shodh maryada, quiz contests, painting competitions and sports, all of which infused fresh blood in the campus activities. Gurmat and classical sangeet is very close to his heart. The Bhaini Sahib Music Akademi, established in 1928, has produced brilliant gems of classical music. The Satguru sponsored the training and tutelage of aspiring musicians with potential to be maestros. Trained under Pandit Krishan Maharaj, the tabla maestro Sukhwinder Singh Pinky shared the Grammy Award with Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt.

Music was food for His soul

‘A few years back I had the good fortune of visiting Sri Bhaini Sahib. I used to hear often about Him and then finally I saw Him in person. It felt as if the Lord Himself had blessed Satguru Jagjit Singh Ji with the gift of music and ascended here. He would effortlessly sing several complex ancient compositions, without the accompaniment of any instrument, quarter, three quarter and one and half beats’ – Fellow Akademi Tagore Rattan recipient, Bhai Gurcharan Singh Kanwal