One of the first ghazal singers to acquire an international face, Jagjit Singh's remarkable range gave voice to many ghazals written by distinguished poets of Madhya Pradesh.
The ghazal maestro had visited the city of lakes at least eight times and was to have performed Sep 27 but the brain heamorrage he suffered proved terminal, and he never came.
"Last time I talked with him was on September 22, after which he had the brain heamorrage," advocate Iftekhar Ayub, who anchored the ghazal maestro in Bhopal and in other places at least thrice, told IANS. "He had promised me to visit my music room."
Iftekhar said that Jagjit Singh had sung at the Union Carbide factory before the gas tragedy. And after what is regarded as one of the worst industrial tragedies, he was very upset for a very long time.
He performed for the first time in Bhopal in 1975. Later, he visited the city on numerous occasions, the last being in 2009.
Ghazals of Basheer Badr, Rahat Indori, Kaif Bhopali and Mazar Bhopali sung by Jagjit Singh have been very popular, including "Tera Chehra Kitna Suhana Lagta Hai" (Lyric: Kaif Bhopali), "Maan Mausam Ka Kaha" (Lyric: Bashir Badr).
Jagjit's "Log Har Mode Pe", written by Rahat Indori, is a ghazal aimed at apprehensive people who worry and think a lot before doing anything.
Remembering Jagjit, Rahat said, "In 700 years of existence, the Urdu ghazal did not reach the lips of the common man until Jagjit's voice touched the heart of the common man. He could even make Ghalib sound simple."
Shahid Meer, native of Sirong near Bhopal, gained overnight recognition when his ghazal "Khuda Kare ke Sehra ko Samandar Gehre Kar De" was rendered by Singh. "He was a composer par excellence and his voice was magical; I owe a lot to him," said Shahid Meer.
For an Indian ghazal singer, Singh's albums had English names: Hope, In Search, Insight, Mirage, Visions, Love Is Blind and classic Ghazal album.
Bashir Badr's "Sunli Jo Khuda Ne Dua" ghazal was sung by Jagjit and his wife Chitra.
"We will miss his performances. All we can do is listen to his melodic voice," said Bashir Badr, looking at the cover of Jagjit's album, "Tum To Nahin Ho", that Badr himself had penned.