What more can I say of someone who was well-  known in India and Pakistan. To him we owe the biggest credit for bringing Ghazals  from the realm of esoteric and high-brow gatherings to the common man. Before the 1980s, one needed to understand Urdu, Pashto or Persian to appreciate the lyrics. He simplified ghazals.

The best praise was from Khuswant Singh who said, “He sings better than Mehdi Hassan and looks better than Dilip Kumar.”

As I remember him, this is the song that touches my heart today. Listen to it –

Sung and Music by: Jagjit Singh
Lyrics: Nida Fazli
Album: Insight (1994)

Garaj Baras Pyaasi Dharti Par Phir Paani De Maula
Chidiyo Ko Daane Bachho Ko Gud-dhaani De Maula

Do Aur Do Ka Jod Hamesha Chaar Kaha Hota Hai
Soch Samjhne Walo Ko Thodi Nadani De Maula

Phir Roshan Kar Zehar Ka Pyala Chamka Nai Salibe
Jhutto Ki Duniya Mein Sach Ko Taabani De Maula

Phir Murat Se Bahar Aakar Chaaro Aur Bikhar Jaa
Phir Mandir Ko Koi Meera Deewani De Maula

Tere Hote Koi Kisi Ki Jaan Ja Dushman Kyu Ho
Jeene Walo Ko Marne Ki Aasani De Maula

Rough Translation:

Oh lord give lot of water to this thirsty parched earth
Give feed to the birds and sweet treats to children

Two and two does not always add up to four
Give a little innocence to these learned people

Let the courageous be born again who would toast a cup of poison
and the cross shine for the braveheart who is ready to be crucified
In this world of falsehood, let brightness shine on truth

(here he is alluding to Socrates and Jesus Christ)

Come out of the idols again, and spread your presence everywhere
Give a love-crazed Meera to the temple again

When you are here why should anyone have enmity against another
Let those who live know how to die in ease

Disclaimer:  It’s not easy to translate hindi poetry to english without losing the subtle meaning and nuances that it conveys. Let me know if you have better translation of these lyrics.