Ever since his death in 2011, 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 Febraury 8 of Jagjitji. That was okay. 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. Eleven 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 Chitra met Sonia to invite her for a function on the first anniversary. Says Chitra, "Soniaji was extremely gracious. I was told I wouldn't be given more than five-seven 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."
Chitra feels Jagjit's fans should begin an online campaign for his Bharat Ratna. "When I meet his admirers and fans they all say say he should get the Bharat Ratna. If they really feel it they need to hammer it into the new government."
She is hopeful that the new BJP government will do the needful. "Prime Minister 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."