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I had the privilege of enjoying the melodious Kirtan of globally recognised Bhai Harjinder Singh today at Boparai Kalan at a religious function at Paramjot Singh’s residence. He is quite young and vibrant (b. 1958) but has achieved heights in view of the earlier known ragis like the well-known ragi Bhai Darshan Singh whom I have been admiring so far. It is a tribute to his dedication and hard work that rather than tied to a Gharana for learning he has been a self-learner from a very young age.

In 1975 Bhai Sahib was given a job by Sant Giani Kartar Singh Ji Khalsa Bhindranwale, where he stayed with their jatha and developed as a ragi. Bhai Sahib started his kirtan career in 1980 at Sri Nagar. He formed a jatha with his younger brother Bhai Maninder Singh and with Bhai Harnaam Singh, who is now huzuri ragi, Sri Harmander Sahib, on tabla. They performed at Sri Nagar for 3 years and then came to Ludhiana in 1983. With a mission to unite all Sikhs worldwide to the Guru's path through his special style of Shabad Kirtan he reaches even the remotest areas spreading awareness and love for Gurbani.

I was confused with his ‘suffix’ Srinagar wale taking him to be from Srinagar but was surprised to find that he is settled in Ludhiana itself. His service at Srinagar Gurdwara for three years gave him the permanent suffix of Srinagar wale. For almost three decades the jatha has enlightened Guru-ki-sangat in all parts of the world. He and his younger brother Bhai Maninder Singh are both exceptional vocalist and very able harmonium players. Bhai Jatinder Singh has been playing the Tabla with the group. In Ludihana, they performed at Sabji Mandi Gurdwara. This was where the Sikh sangat started calling him "Sri Nagar" Wale. Although Bhai Sahib was not aware of this suffix to his name until one devoted Sikh printed their first business card with the name, “Bhai Harjinder Singh Sri Nagar Wale”. Bhai Sahib has over 100 albums consisting of over 600 Gurbani shabads, all with melodious music.

Bhai sahib's jatha play a mix of both classical raga and modern raga-based tunes as a three-some, where Bhai Harjinder Singh is the lead vocalist with support from his younger brother (who now has his own group/jatha). Their style is slow and mallow and very conducive to Gurbani kirtan and they have huge following throughout the world and especially in India, UK, Australia, and USA.

In Bhai Sahib's own words: "I am where I am today because of the Shabad Guru. I am merely a singer of the Guru's praises of the Guru's words; I am a humble servant of the Guru, if anyone is to be praised it is the Guru Granth and the Guru Panth. It is only by the great fortune blessed upon me by Guru Ji and the sangat that I am where I am today."

Bhai Sahib now lives at Ludihana and his jatha is now comprised of Bhai Gagandeep Singh (plays harmonium) and Bhai Gurinder pal Singh (plays tabla). As of 2011 Bhai Gagandeep has his own jatha and is now known as Bhai Gagandeep Singh Ganga Nagar Wale. Thus, he has created three new groups who have well established themselves.

 

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