Ever since his death in 2011, the Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh's wife Chitra Singh has been fighting a lone battle to get her husband the recognition he deserves.
"I think he deserves the Bharat Ratna, no less...The country must give him his dues. Manmohan Singhji released two commemorative stamps on Feb 8 of Jagjitji. That was okay. Theek hai. But what about the recognition that Jagjit Saab deserves?"
The Ghazal maestro's widow, herself a renowned Ghazal singer in the 1970s and 80s had been persuading Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi for many years to award a Bharat Ratna to her husband.
Sighs Chitraji, "They gave Jagjitji the Padma Bhushan in 2003. 11 years have passed since. Every year we expected him to get the Bharat Ratna."
In 2012, at a function in Delhi on Jagjit Singh's first death anniversary, Chitraji met Sonia Gandhi to invite her for a function on the first anniversary. And Mrs. Gandhi, though graciousness personified, couldn't help with the Bharat Ratna.
Says Chitraji, "Soniaji was extremely gracious. I was told I wouldn't be given more than 5-7 minutes. But she spent 40 minutes with me. I raised the subject of the Bharat Ratna for my husband. But it didn't go any further. I raised the issue with Manmohan Singhji who was very close to Jagjitji. He too was very gracious. He said he'd try his best. But nothing happened."
Interestingly, no one has received the Bharat Ratna during the last decade, apparently due to pressure from political families to award the honour to their kin.
However, the Bharat Ratna is likely to be revived. There is talk of hockey player Dhyan Chand.
Chitraji feels Jagjit's fans should begin an online campaign for his Bharat Ratna. "When I meet his admirers and fans, they all say that he should get the Bharat Ratna. But that's it. It never goes beyond that. If his fans really feel he should get the Bharat Ratna, then they need to hammer it into the new government ."
Chitraji feels the new BJP government would do the needful. "Narendra Modiji has said on Jagjitji's death that not only had we lost a great musician but Gujarat had lost a friend. My husband had a soft corner for Gujaratis. He had also met Modiji."
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