Jasraj’s father died hours before being appointed in Nizam’s court

Hyderabad: Pandit Jasraj passed away at the age of 90 following a cardiac arrest in New Jersey. He has been practicing classical music over the past eight decades.

On Monday, family of the musician issued a statement, “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”.

A recipient of top civilian honours including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan, the maestro, whose career spanned almost eight decades, belonged to the Mewati Gharana.

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Vocal training

Pandit Jasraj, who was initiated into vocal training at the age of 14, later trained as a tabla accompanist under his elder brother, Pandit Pratap Narayan. He will always be remembered for adding elements of thumri to khayal.

Reacting to the news of his demise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “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.”

Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, while calling it an extremely sad day for the world of music, said, “Pandit Jasraj’s passing away marks the end of a golden era of music. I shared so many festivals with Jasraj bhai right from the sixties. He gave a different dimension to vocal music. He was an artiste who lived life on his terms and surpassed his own time. His musical approach and genius endeared him to the planet.”

Pandit Jasraj was the last of the golden era of Indian classical vocalists which included Ustad Bade Ghulaam Ali Khan , Ustad Amir Khan, Pt Bhimsen Joshi and Pt Kumar Gandharva.

“Mewati Gharana came to the limelight because of his genius. His legacy lives on timelessly. I will miss him immensely both musically and personally,” Amjad Ali Khan added.

Pandit Motiram Pandit Maniram Sangeet Samaroh

Jasraj, who also taught music in India, Canada and the US, used to organise a musical festival annually — Pandit Motiram Pandit Maniram Sangeet Samaroh — in Hyderabad since 1972.

Every year, in November, he used to visit Hyderabad. He used to visit the grave of his father, Pandit Motiram who passed away when was four-year-old.

Motiram died in 1934 on the day when he was to be appointed as the state musician in the court of Mir Osman Ali Khan, last Nizam of Hyderabad.

I have lost a big brother: Asha Bhosle

Legendary singer Asha Bhosle is saddened by his demise.

“I am deeply saddened by the unfortunate demise of Pandit Jasraj ji. I have lost someone who was extremely fond of me, I have lost a big brother. Sangeet ka sooraj doob gaya (the sun of music has set). He was a vocalist par excellence and I knew him for so long, from even before his marriage to V Shantaram’s daughter. He used to praise me a lot and he always used to say, ‘main tujhe gaana sikhaunga (I will teach you how to sing)’,” recalled Bhosle.

She added: “Back in the day, when I had visited his classical school in the US, where he used to teach music to so many aspiring talents, I remember how I had wanted to enrol myself into his school.”

Bhosle also recalled an interesting anecdote from the US trip when she met Pandit Jasraj. “On that same trip, we went out for dinner, and Jasraj ji, who was a staunch vegetarian, kept requesting me to turn vegetarian for health reasons. I will always remember his childlike demeanor,” she said.

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