First hazoori raagi to get Padma Shri

deepak pace


Amritsar, January 27
Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa (56) has become the first “hazoori raagi” of the Golden Temple to get Padma Shri award. His name was announced on the eve of Republic Day.
Trained in classical music and the art of gurbani kirtan, Bhai Nirmal Singh has been serving the sangat for more than 25 years . His voice is deep, melodious and seasoned by riaz.
The Padma Shri is generally given to Indian citizens in recognition of their contribution in various spheres of activity, including art, education, industry, literature, science, social work, etc.
Interestingly, Bhai Khalsa is contemplating to create history of sorts in the music world by cutting a joint album of shabad kirtan with legendry ghazal singer of Pakistan Ghulam Ali. This would be the first-ever joint album of the “ustad-shagirad” (teacher-disciple) duo even as Bhai Nirmal Singh considers Ghulam Ali his teacher in the field of music. No other “hazoori raagi” has ever sung gurbani with the ghazal maestro so far.
Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa was born on April 12, 1952, at Jandwala Bhim Shah village in Ferozepore. He did his diploma in gurmat sangeet from Shaheed Sikh Missionary College, Amritsar, in 1974-76. He has been a music teacher in Gurmat College, Rishikesh, in 1977 and in Shaheed Sikh Missionary College, Sant Baba Fateh Singh, Sant Channan Singh, Budha Johar, Ganga Nagar, Rajasthan, in 1978. From 1979 till date he has been serving as “hazoori raagi”, Sach Khand Harmandir Sahib. He has also performed kirtan at all the five takhts, historical gurdwaras in India and 53 other countries. The T-Series company, Music Today, Music Memories, Tips, Fine Touch and Saaga have released more than 50 audio cassettes/VCDs/DVDs and MP-3 of Bhai Khalsa. He is also a member of the advisory board of the Punjab Languages Department for selection of awardees in the field of development and kirtan sub-committee member of the SGPC.