When voices shine through

Dressed in a white anarkali, as Saroj ascended the stage, the host Kehkshan Tyagi mentioned that she feels nervous as it is her first solo performance on stage. Yet, when she started to sing a popular ghazal (rhyming couplet) –Safar me dhoop toh hogi, toh chal sako toh chalo–the audience responded with enthusiastic claps.

Belonging to Uttarakhand’s Kumaon region, Saroj graduated from singing bhajans at a tender age of three and a half years to pursue Bachelors in Music from University of Delhi. She says, “I always wanted to pursue music. But it is my first try at ghazals, and I don’t want to disappoint.”

Saroj was one of the three visually impaired performers at a tribute to singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary held recently at India Islamic Cultural Centre. Performing on popular numbers of the maestro, at the Hosla Trust organised Sham-e- Ghazal, Saroj kept her word along with her troupe which included Bollywood singer Micky Narula who sung ghazals like Jo Tum Itna Muskura Rahe Ho and Kuch Na Kuch Toh Zaroor Hona Hain
among others.

Saroj has been associated with Hosla Trust, an organisation for People with Disabilities (PwDs) for the last one and a half years.

Kehkshan Tyagi, founder and chairperson of Hosla Trust tells Metrolife, “The time when the children came, they did not know how to hold the mike or remembered the lyrics, but since the last one year, they have been performing well and have been invited to a lot of functions.”

She says, “Jagjit saheb is known for his voice and these visually impaired young people cannot see but only hear and recognise voices. So, we thought, why not combine both on World Sight Day as well.”

Tyagi encountered incidents where visually impaired singers were not included as part of “special” occasions. “In most cases, even if the singers sang well, they were looked at differently, owing to their disability. So that is when I thought, why not? What are they less in? In fact, they are better than us,” says Tyagi.

When Sagar Kapoor pursuing his masters in music from Delhi University sang, Kal Chaudvi Ki Raat Thi, Chiiti Na Koi Sandesh, Yeh Daulat Bhi Le Lo, etc, the confidence that he exuberated was unmatchable. Kapoor mentioned, “I have been visually impaired since birth but that has not deterred me from pursuing what I believe in and Hosla  as well as my parents have supported me throughout.”

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