Updated: Jan 14, 2022
Durga Jasraj has a unique place in the world of Indian classical arts: she gives voice to singers, and artists from all over the country.
Durga Jasraj has an extraordinary background; she happens to be the daughter of the late Sangeet Martand Pandit Jasraj ji.
We had written about the late legend last year; how his singing voice still haunted us with its rich soul and poignancy.
But this post is about his daughter. A few questions arise: how does one navigate the space of being the daughter, an extension, of a stalwart and legend? That, too, not of a technical professional who may learn his or her field through education, and eventually be able to practice it well enough to be deemed a successful 'expert', but of an artist who requires much more than simple training and education to be what he or she was, and still is, for the world?
Durga Jasraj navigates this exact space. She was born in it. She lives in it. And she furthers it through grace, empathy, wisdom and strength. Daily.
Few classical artists don't know the name of Durga Jasraj, and, indeed, there are few artists who Durga Jasraj doesn't already know. She often brings them together, individually and in groups, in unique settings to promote art and artists through her eponymous 'Art and Artistes.'
In the biography of Pandit Jasraj ji, senior biographer and late family friend Sunita Budhiraja ji wrote about the experience of being Durga Jasraj. The highs and lows of being in the space that she has always inhabited.
And while Durga Jasraj chooses to uplift and empower a variety of artists all around her of all ages with a remarkable show of sensitivity and understanding towards them, we wonder: can we all also hear the voice of Durga Jasraj?
The ongoing work and art curation of Durga Jasraj is critical and important because of her focus (and, indeed, knowledge and understanding) of classical arts in today's age.
But as fans of her father, and as appreciators of how Durga Jasraj continues to keep up the legacy of her father and various artists alive, we think that there would be nothing more fitting than to also watch her give a voice to herself: for her to not be seen in comparison with her father, for once, but only for herself; for people to hear her voice as only her own, and not in the echoes of all other artists; for Durga Jasraj to de-hyphenate herself, even while she carries an extraordinary legacy; for her to take the stage for a creative endeavor entirely of her own; for her to take up space, and for only her voice to be heard, with the same sense of importance that she offers to everyone else.
Because, at the end, she is the daughter of Pandit Jasraj, and she has everything that it takes: to just be her.
We can't wait to watch new projects and creative endeavors unfold, under the helm of Durga Jasraj. ■