Sunday 31 May 2020

Padam Shri Bhai Nirmal Singhji

Padam Shri Bhai Nirmal Singhji
When it comes to success,   one looks back at a lot of things  people  are  happy about .Those baby  steps that only you know of!
Out of those have known you ,there are people who know  the price of your success, for the rest you’re plain lucky!
Padam Shri  Raagi Bhai Nirmal Singhji Khalsa in an interview with Khushdav Singh in Khaas Mulakat Sangat T.V. in U.K.this is what I unraveled from this interview, other posts on the Youtube …and first hand information from his random fans ,and my favourite  Ragi, I was shaken when the Pandemic snatched him away.
His parent’s certainly didn’t know that he was an uncut diamond in need of cutting and polishing !
From very humble beginnings in a village mother Sardarni Gurdev Kaur, father Sardar Chanan Singhbrought him up with the only hope that he’d contribute to the meager income. That was not to be as he was not interested in his father’s trade, which he proudly professes he knows so well. Much to his father’s chagrin he was neither interested in other options.
Even as a young boy he was fond of  good music. After the day’s work he’d sit in front of the radio and listen to Pakistan music programmes consisting of gazals, songs, shabads…what he liked best was Gulam Ali’s style of singing and he says he adopted it . The style remained with him even after he underwent training and learning in music schools by maestros of Indian classical music.
He attributes his renown to his mother who had faith in him.  She parted with her gold band which he sold for Rupees 30 . She unshackled him from his attachment towards filial duties, and  encouraged him to run away from home and pursue his passion.
He managed to get admission at the Shaheed Missionary College Amritsar.a prof. there nicknamed him as Tansen in recognition to his lovely voice modulations.(Tansan a great singer in the court of the Mughal king Akbar)  Here he set his heart and mind to  accomplish his dream of becoming the top Ragi  at the Golden temple.
He did become the Hazoori Ragi at Darbar Saheb! His silky voice resonated all over the world and soon he became a household name. His Asa Di Vaar  started the day for many a devout Punjabis. He worked hard and sang the Gurbani  mellifluously in their stipulated 31 ragaas.
His hard work didn’t go unnoticed. He was awarded the Padam Shri the highest civilian award in India.So humble in his stance,he wondered who had nominated him. he had never imagined such an honour.In the course of a conversation he discovered it was none other than  the  then P.M. Dr. Manmohan Singh who had suggested his name.  He is  the only Raagi who has been conferred with the award. However, the   most important award he confesses is the faces of his audience who bless him with their expressions!
In his address to the Punjabi youth in a college ,he said there is no end to learning.He talked about his keen desire for knowledge. He would even read from the paper in which goods were wrapped and sold . He couldn’t study beyond class 5 because of poverty. In  all humility he stated that he has written 2 books well researched based on his experiences in Ragas , Gurmat classical saangeet, which are prescribed as text books for post graduate students!His message to the young musicians is that they should learn and render the shabads in the specified Raagas in order to get the real essence of the meaning of the word(shabad).Guru Naank was a mystic who along with Bhai Bala and Bhai Mardana mesmerized the ‘Kayanath” with his melodious teachings. Music resonates with everyone.
On a serious note,he recalls with extreme sadness being an eye witness to the attack on Golden Temple in June 1984.It was so frightening. He was on duty in the precincts of the Gurudwara. The mayhem of thousands of innocents is inexcusable.
He enjoyed his foreign trips .which provided him the opportunity to explore the world.He has been to 71 countries .Enjoying each one’s culture ,flora , fauna marveling God’s creation.
He  related an interesting anecdote about his meeting his  creative inspiration ,his guru Gulam Ali.In one of his trips abroad to England he learnt that he was there.It was a great moment for him,off he went to meet him .It was an ecstatic  moment ,when the Ustad told him that he knew him as an admirable Hazoori Raagi.His respect was reciprocated and the two became family from then on.
Such was his simplicity, love for learning and spreading the message of God , having the good of all at heart. His calling was singing and his endeavour was to compose good music and sing God’s praise for the people.  He was a rustic, straightforward perhaps that is why he won the hearts of one and all!
His was a singleness of purpose to popularize singing God’s praise in the classical overtones.This is no small part of his greatness.It has been his ability to inspire and rediscover the greatness of the verses in the Guru Granth Saeb that are written with the length, metre and beat in keeping with the Ragaas. He believed that we are fortunate to have inherited such wealth of  knowledge. This tradition of Gurmat Sangeet  should be carried on!


Thursday 7 May 2020


On the terrace admired  the very bright, round moon . Today is super moon and it has coincided with Budh Purnima.   It is Buddha’s birthday observed by Buddhists all over the world as an important festival. It is believed three important events  of Buddha’s life took place :his  birth, his attaining enlightment, and his death, Paranirvana. This day is Thrice Blessed Festival.
It is celebrated in the Asian countries mainly by lighting lanterns ,candles, floating them on a lake.
China, South Korea, North Korea, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia Japan ,Malaysia ,Mongolia ,Myanmar, Nepal Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Vietnam.
Also it is celebrated in Australia as “Vesak Day”. In Brazil it is celebrated largely because of the Japanese Community. Vesak Buddha’s Birthday  in Toronto,  Canada. In the U.S.A the celebration differs from community to  community depending on ethnicity and nationality.
We Indians celebrate the day .It’s a public holiday , it was initiated by B.R.Ambedkar, who drafted the Indian Constitution. Buddha’s teachings are intertwined in our social fabric. His tenets of’ middle path ‘and ‘non- violence , Three Jewels about living an ideal life, so well known to all.  
 Its an important day in our family because my Dad and Mom tied the knot on this auspicious day!
The Super Moon has  lit up the sky and it is going to be the last Super moon of 2020.
The term Super moon is coined by the astrologer Richard Nolle in 1979. It occurs when the moon reaches it’s closest point to the earth which is known as Perigee.
It can be 14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than the usual moon. That is why it’s so breath -taking. The Full Moon in May month is referred to as Flower Moon because of the spring season and abundance of flowers. It is indeed an ode to the flowers blooming in Northern Hemisphere.
There is something deeply enchanting about the silver suffused with yellow , pink blue grey colors!
Today the super Moon looks Magical in the night sky . it seems like a lovely poem written in this Lockdown  of hope and joy …

Tuesday 5 May 2020


Today I attended a Haiku workshop organized by Delhiwallah Collective Poetry Group .It was led by Gina Gallyot,  along with Rajeev Narang and sponsored by an online magazine” LitGleam”.
Gina explained the basic rules of writing Haiku. It the Japanese art of writing tiny poems of 17 syllables!
It is simple   poem of three lines only.
The first line has five syllables.
The second line seven syllables.
The third has five syllables.
It was such a delightful experience reading these short and sweet poems, with punch!
Even in this wee little poem there is a cutting point/word to how contrast or similarities, termed as   “Kirje”. The subject matter could be seasonal reference to nature elements   “Kigo”.
She shared some Haiku’s from the great master Matsuo Basho.
She encouraged us to write Haiku .I scribbled this one
“The cherry blossom
Lit up my being in smiles
Made   me so happy!”

Monday 4 May 2020


I was a young girl, when my doctor  aunty was given charge of the Infectious Disease Hospital.
I used to find her behavior strange. She was obsessed with washing her hands with soap and water.
She would treat her garments as if they were infested with virus . As  soon as she would park the car in the garage and walk  in ,we had to clear the way for her. Anyone who crossed her path got a blast of her vitriolic tongue, as if we had caught the virus .I always felt she was out of her mind.
She had a beautiful house with marbled tiles and all. Curtains and Carpets an absolute no no for her.
Once she offered me an apple as I extended my hand to take it she said, ”wait a minute”.
Horror of horrors she lathered it with the Lifebuoy washing soap! I angrily declined. She didn’t like my outburst and lovingly explained fomites. It didn’t make much sense then .But today in this day and age of Corona virus it is her lesson of that day comes clearly to my mind.
She told me that any inanimate object becomes a vehicle to carry infection such as clothes, wallets ,hair, skin,  bedding, bags utensils key chains ,bangles etc and transfer the virus to a new host.That is why its so important to wash hands with soap .
 In short it is an inanimate transporter of the pathogen .e.g. Corona virus can be transmitted by money exchanging hands,or even  touching the tiny  button of  the lift which has been touched by an affected person.
VECTOR, is a living organism that transmits a parasite to another living being. e.g .mosquitoes are the vectors of malaria.
Basic difference between Vector and Fomites is that of living and nonliving vehicles of transferring pathogens onto the other body.
Believe me I've gone out of my mind washing my hands since the past month. Lady Macbeth comes to my mind when I feel that all  the waters of Arabian sea can't seem to get this pathogen off my hands!