Melody reigns supreme at Jagdev Kalan village
On the wings of soft wind, rustling through an ancient banyan tree, a clear melodious song wafts through. It breaks through the shouts of “Reshma, Reshma”.
Sarabjit — a shy, kohl-eyed eighteen-year-old girl emerges nervously, wiping her face with a handkerchief. She is Reshma for her classmates. “Our friend is no less talented than the noted Pakistani singer Reshma,” says one of Sarabjit’s classmates at Senior Secondary School at Jagdev Kalan village, the birthplace of renowned Muslim poet Hasham Shah. Interestingly, the marble plaque at the school informs — “From this village, 105 men went to the Great War of 1914-1919 (World War-I). Of these, three gave up their lives.”
Sufiana kalam, Heer, Shah Hussian, Waris Shah , Bulleh Shah, Shreen-Farad -Sarabjit renders all effortlessly and with élan. The afternoon slides into evening that is filled with the melody of Punjabi folk songs, bolis and qawwalis.
Sarabjit’s brother Kuldeep (12) and many of her classmates and junior students, too, are singers and performers. The best comes in when the brother-sister duo sings Sassi Punnu, Nazuk pyer maluk sassi de, mehendi nal savarey — the creation of poet Hasham Shah.
Sarabjit and Kuldeep’s parents, Dharm Singh and Balwinder Kaur, both are singers. Guru Nanak Dev University recently recorded a CD of Sarabjit’s songs. She was also invited to radio station two years back after an audition survey, and instead of the “Bal Vani” programme for children, she was chosen for “Yuva Vani” in which young adult singers participate.
Interestingly, the village boasts of many singers and performers. One Manjit Singh anchors programmes, mimics, sings and plays harmonium and dhol. Sardool Sikander is another upcoming singer.
The singers from this village like to call themselves descendants of Bhai Mardana — a Muslim who accompanied Guru Nanak Dev throughout his journeys. But this may be far from the truth.