Gurmeet Bawa, considered nightingale of Punjab, passes away at 77 (Obituary)

Sushil Manav

Chandigarh, November 21

Gurmeet Bawa, one of the best female singers Punjab has produced, died at the age of 77 in a private hospital in Amritsar this morning.

She had not been keeping well for the past some time and was admitted to a private hospital after her condition deteriorated.

She breathed her last on Sunday morning.

A decorated female singer, Gurmeet Bawa was considered nightingale of Punjab, and was bracketed with the two legendary singers of yore – Surinder Kaur and Parkash Kaur.

Bawa was know for her ‘hek’ (breathless opening of a Punjabi song with “ho”) that she could hold for upto 45 seconds.

She was one of the few singers known for singing “Jugni” (an age old narrative device used in Punjabi folk music) after the late Alam Lohar.

Born in 1944, Bawa started her singing career in 1968 with encouragement from her folk singer husband Kirpal Bawa.

She sang with the Punjabi folk instruments like Algoze, Chimta, Dholki and Tumbi. She amazed the audience during a function organised by the Punjab Association in Mumbai and got a standing ovation by the Bollywood stars like Prem Chopra, Pran and especially Raj Kapoor who repeatedly requested a boli, main jatti Punjab di, meri Nargis wargi akh.She has performed overseas.She represented India during the festival of India organised in the USSR in 1987 and Japan in 1988. She also performed at Thailand Culture Center in Bangkok in 1988 and also represented the country in the Bosra festival and the 25th Jashan-E-Azadi festival in Tripoli (Libya) in 1989.

People close to her tell that she was not keeping well ever since her elder daughter Lachi Bawa died of cancer last year.

Herself a folk singer, Lachi doing doctorate in Sufi singing.

She is survived by her younger daughter Glory, a folk singer, youngest daughter Mishri and husband Kirpal Bawa. Chief Minister Charanjit Channi, former Union Minister Harsimrat Badal, and a number of political leaders and artists have condoled her death.

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