The latest episode of the hit gameshow Kaun Banega Crorepati, hosted by actor Amitabh Bachchan, featured special guests Karamveers Rajeev Khandelwal and Krishnavatar Sharma, founders, Ajeevika Bureau, a non-profit that works with the migrant workers in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Udaipur. While playing along some interesting questions, the founders quit the show at the 25 lakh question mark. They took home Rs 12,50,000. The question the duo were asked was: “In September 2019, the International Astronomical Union named a minor planet after which of these Indian musicians?”
The options were Kishori Amonkar, Pandit Jasraj, Ustad Zakir Hussain, Shubha Mudgal.
The founders were unable to give the right answer: Pandit Jasraj.
The legacy of Pandit Jasraj
Renowned vocalist Pandit Jasraj, who passed away on August 17, 2020, at the age of 90 years, brought the Hindustani classical music to the masses. With a career spanning almost 80 years, the doyen of Indian classical vocal music was a recipient of various prestigious awards and honours including Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. He represented the last of a generation of classical vocalists, which includes 83-year-old Kishori Amonkar, the doyenne of the Jaipur Atrauli gharana.
As a pioneer who added elements of the thumri to the khayal to make it more audience-friendly, Pandit Jasraj gave Indian classical music a global identity.
Given his numerous contributions to the world of classical music, in September 2019, a minor planet, between Mars and Jupiter, was named after him. International Astronomical Union (IAU), global organisation of professional astronomers, named minor planet 2006 VP32 (number -300128), discovered on November 11, 2006, as ‘Panditjasraj’ which traverses the cosmos between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
What is a minor planet?
Minor planets are relatively smaller bodies than planets and they revolve around the Sun but are not exactly spherical in shape. Such planets are thoroughly studied by astronomers before being named. Generally, in the case of small solar system bodies, the discoverers have the privilege of suggesting a name for them but significant bodies have to undergo a thorough analysis by the experts. The privilege of naming lasts for a period of 10 years from the day of discovery. But, even in such cases, a proper procedure needs to be followed for naming the celestial object as not all names are acceptable.