“Madam ikk gaana gaake jao, sirf ikk…(Please sing one song, just one).”
Ranjit Kaur (67), grew emotional as the request came from the audience. After a singing career spanning three glorious decades, she could not help but oblige as she sang at a campaign meeting in Baghapurana of Moga on Monday, cheered by fans.
As she sang, her voice trembling every now and then, Mohammad Sadiq (77), her singing partner for more than three decades and now the Congress candidate from Faridkot constituency, sat behind her in rapt attention.
Sadiq watched her in admiration as she sang her super hit track, ‘Jaavo ni jaavo saiyyon, shardha naal jaake kahiyo… deyo sandesa neeley dey shah asvaar nu… jaavo ni jaavo….’
She was 15 and he was 25 when they recorded their first song ‘Jey tu suniare kolo nattiyan kadhaunian, mudri ch nag jadwa de haniyaan‘ together way back in 1967, this duo ruled the Punjabi folk music industry for more than two decades in 1970s and 80s, before a medical condition compelled Kaur to stop recording songs in the late 1980s. Despite that, she continued her stage performances with Sadiq till 2001.
Recording more than 2,000 songs together, Mohd Sadiq-Ranjit Kaur delivered several hits in over 35 years. Sadiq would pay the traditional instrument ‘tumbi’ and together their debut songs would become instant hits and are hummed even today in Punjabi rural households. It is this bond that has made Kaur campaign for Sadiq.
Today, he is 77 and she is 67. He calls her ‘Guddo’ (younger sister) and he calls her ‘Bhaji’ (elder brother). In poll mode, the two are touring towns and villages in Faridkot constituency, as Kaur campaigns for her brother who she says has stood with her through thick and thin, even when her career and stardom “came to a sudden halt”.
On Monday, making a vote appeal for Sadiq, she said from stage, “Sadiq saab nu taan tussi sab changi tarah jaande ho…changa insaan samajhke vote paayo…(You all know Sadiq very well, vote for him because he is a good human being).” As her fans urged her to sing, she said, “Pehlan eh dasso vote paonge na Sadiq bhaji nu (First promise that you will vote for my brother Sadiq)…”
“We saw golden glorious times together and it would have been unfair had I left her mid-way when she developed a medical condition. We went to every temple, dargah and masjid but her voice’s sheen couldn’t come back. We even went abroad for treatment but doctors said that if surgery is unsuccessful, she might lose her voice altogether forever. Her voice was important, not singing,” says Sadiq.
Kaur, who moved to Italy with her husband but keeps visiting Punjab, has decided to stay back this time to campaign for Sadiq. “Campaigning for him is a very small thing that I can do. When people still ask me to sing, I do not refuse.”
“I am grateful that she is campaigning for me. We started our journey together for just Rs 250 because we both had younger siblings to feed. People say a lot of things about artists and our profession but we never had any controversy and the bond is still strong…” he says.