New Delhi, Aug 18 (PTI) Vocalist Chhanulal Mishra has many memories of Pandit Jasraj but what stands out the most for him is the singer's love for the city of Banaras and Sankat Mochan temple.
Pandit Jasraj passed away following a cardiac arrest at the age of 90 in New Jersey, America on Monday.
Pandit Jasraj's last performance was a Facebook live that he did for the temple on the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti in April this year.
'He was such a great artiste but he was without ego. Sometimes he would visit the temple and would just sit down to sing without instruments. His contribution to classical music is incomparable. He was not only a singer par excellence but also someone who never faltered in his choice of words. He would never use colloquial words in his singing,' Mishra told PTI.
The Varanasi-based singer said Pandit Jasraj was a devotee of Lord Hanuman and he will be missed a lot by the city and the temple where he loved performing.
Sharing his memories of the great singer, Mishra said, 'Pandit ji was elder to me by eight years and I respected him a lot.
'Once when he came to Kashi, I was singing in the Sankat Mochan temple. I finished after four-five ragas. He approached me and said, 'Please bless me as it is my turn to sing now'. I was like 'elder brother, how can I bless you. I can pray for you'.' The mutual respect that the two artistes shared was unique, he said.
'Once we shared the stage in Mumbai. He was in the audience when I was singing and requested me to sing 'Kevat Samvaad' (a story from Ramcharitra Manas). He became so emotional that he started crying and later told me 'You sing so beautifully'.' Mishra, 84, said he also loved the 'bhajans' sung by Pandit Jasraj, his favourite being 'Mata Kalika'.
Mishra said Pandit Jasraj used to feel happy to see artistes get recognised.
'This year when I was awarded Padma Vibhushan, he was very happy and told my son (tabla player Ramkumar Mishra) that now we are equals as we both are Padma Vibhushan awardees.'PTI MJ BK BK BK