Jagjit Singh, born Jagmohan Singh Dhiman (8 February 1941 – 10 October 2011), popularly known as “The Ghazal King” or “King of Ghazals”, was an Indian ghazal singer, composer and musician. He sang in numerous languages and is credited for the revival and popularity of ghazal, an Indian classical art form, by choosing poetry that was relevant to the masses and composing them in a way that laid more emphasis on the meaning of words and melody evoked by them. In terms of Indian Classical music, his style of composing and Gayaki (singing) is considered as Bol-pradhan, one that lays emphasis on words. He highlighted this in his music for films such as Prem Geet (1981), Arth (1982) , and Saath Saath (1982), and TV serials Mirza Ghalib (1988) and Kahkashan (1991). Singh is considered to be the most successful ghazal singer and composer of all time in terms of critical acclaim and commercial success. With a career spanning five decades and many albums, the range and breadth of his work has been regarded as genre-defining.
Singh’s 1987 album, Beyond Time, was the first digitally recorded release in India. He was regarded as one of India’s most influential artists. With sitar player Ravi Shankar and other leading figures of Indian classical music and literature, Singh voiced his concerns over politicisation of arts and culture in India and lack of support experienced by the practitioners of India’s traditional art forms, particularly folk artists and musicians. He lent active support to several philanthropic endeavours such as the library at St. Mary’s School, Mumbai, Bombay Hospital, CRY, Save the Children and ALMA.
Singh was awarded the Padma Bhushan by the Government of India in 2003 and in February 2014, the government released a set of two postal stamps in his honour.