Know About S. Jagdev Singh Jassowal
Mr. Jagdev Singh Jassowal is recognised in Punjab as a person who has influenced the politics of Malwa, especially in the Ludhiana belt. Mr Jassowal did take to politics in his youth, contested elections and was elected to the Punjab Assembly in 1980. But politics, dominated by opportunism and self-interest, did not go well with him, and did not offer him enough opportunity to come up to the expectations of the people of his constituency.
A recently released book on Mr Jassowal, ‘Jagdev Singh Jassowal-Jeevan te Shakhsiyat’, brings out the fact that ‘for him the culture of Punjab is his turban and politics his shoes’. The comment of Mr Jassowal on politics, as recorded in the book, is expressive enough. He says: “Politics has lost its charm; all are concerned with their vested interests; no leader is worried about the plight of the people, society, the country, and to culture.”Nearly a decade ago when Mr Jassowal met me at the Chandigarh Lake Club, he admitted that he had finally decided to quit politics to devote himself fully to the promotion of art, culture and literature of Punjab and to revive the cultural heritage of the state which was being threatened by the imported culture of the West.
He was then accompanied by a number of rural musicians, folk singers, and stage-artistes who were proud of receiving his patronage. A sarangi-player said: Eh Jassowal tan sadde wastey farishta hai. A folk singer confided that under the patronage of Mr Jassowal, he would definitely make a mark in the field of Punjabi folk music. Similar sentiments were expressed by a dholaki player and a tumbi player.For many years, Mr Jassowal has been holding Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Mela at Punjabi Bhawan, Ludhiana, where kavishars, dhadis, naqalchis, bhands, raasdhariyas and qawwals assemble to regale the audience with their performances. Besides, Punjab’s evergreen folk dances such as Bhangra, Gidda, Lok-Nach are also arranged. On the concluding day of the mela, outstanding artistes and men of letters are honoured. Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Mela, which was first held in 1979, continues to be an annual event. Now it has come to be known among the rural masses as ‘Jassowal da mela’. In view of the response from the folk artistes of Punjab, a number of government departments and non-government cultural and literary organisations have come forward to provide funds for the mela. The credit for all this goes to Mr Jassowal who has brought about a cultural renaissance in Punjab.
The Punjabis settled abroad have also started organising such melas in countries like Denmark and Canada.Several Punjabi artistes such as folk singers Harbhajan Mann and Kuldip Singh Paras, comedians Jaswinder Bhalla and Bal Mukand Sharma admit that they owe their success to “Jassowalji”. About his own attachment to Punjabi art and culture, Mr Jassowal says it is a relationship like:"Chann nal chakor da, patang nal dor da,Been nal supp da, cha nal cup da. "Another invaluable contribution of Mr Jassowal to the state of Punjab is the spirit of communal amity, brotherhood and national solidarity he has propagated Sabhyacharak Manch of which he is the president.Born in the village of Jassowal, 9 km from Ludhiana, on April 30, 1935, Mr Jagdev Singh is a law graduate from Aligarh Muslim University.
He has permanently settled in Gurdev Nagar, Ludhiana, where he is visited by a large number of people. He is the founder-president of the Prof Mohan Singh Foundation and president of the Vishav Punjabi Sabhyacharak Manch. Recently, he visited Canada to participate in the 5th international Prof Mohan Singh Memorial Mela held in the city of Surrey, British Columbia. This mela is held there every year under the presidentship of Mr Gurinder Singh. Thousands of Punjabis, Canadians as well as Americans attended this mela.