Singh’s wife recalls in book how the singer was under surveillance during trip to Pakistan in 1979
Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh’s visited Pakistan in 1979. And if his wife is to be believed, he was under surveillance by a Pakistani intelligence official who actually turned out to be a huge fan.
“The political situation when we went [to Pakistan] was not very calm, we could sense a tension. When we landed we noticed a man getting into the aircraft and just standing there. We saw him again and again. He followed us out of the airport and we saw him again in the hotel. It was unnerving,” Chitra Singh, wife of Jagjit Singh recounts in the book Baat Niklegi Toh Phir – The Life and Music of Jagjit Singh by Sathya Saran.
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“The room bell rang. Jagjit opened the door, and he was outside. He entered. Jagjit asked him in Punjabi, ‘Are you following us?’” she continued.
Upon entering the official mentioned that he was a fan and “gestured that the room was bugged”. He then proceeded to offer a gift to the couple.
“Explaining that he was from the intelligence department, he with utmost care, drew from inside his jacket a bottle wrapped in newspaper; he had brought alcohol as a gift since the hotel served none,” she added.
The maestro’s wife also related that they had been banned from giving any public performances by Pakistan but that they accepted a private invitation from the press club, where they sang to a full house.
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The day after that, they gave a concert at the residence of the then Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan K Shankar Bajpai. Following that, there were flooded with private invitations to perform.
This article originally appeared on NDTV