The convocation ceremony at Punjab University On Wednesday held a special meaning for young Sufi maestro Satinder Sartaj. Bestowed with a gold medal in Persian (diploma) and doctorate in Sufiana music, Sartaj is already a name to reckon with in his field and that too at an age when many of his contemporaries are yet to start their careers.
But then fame is not new to this young singer. Sartaj recalls another occasion when the prolonged applause from music lovers from 32 countries greeted the young Punjabi at the Dubai International Cultural Fest-2003 when he was crowned with Best Sufi Singer Award, living up to the meaning of his name Sartaj, the supreme.
Back home, Satinder has a galaxy of achievements like featuring in a documentary on the life of Baba Bulle Shah on Alpha TV. He also won appreciation in Zee Antakshari show with Annu Kapoor in the folk category. Winner of a scholarship in Sufi music from the Government of India, first runner-up in the 24th All-India Light Vocal Festival and a topper in the Punjab Heritage Foundation Competitions are just to name a few.
Living in the sleepy Bajrawar village of Hoshiarpur, as a child, Satinder was hooked to the melody emanating from the flute and Sarangi of the wandering folk artistes. He was also drawn to the beauty and fragrance of flowers, rainbows, the tranquil flow of the water creating a rhythmic pattern. Though too young to analyze the innate pleasure derived from the natural phenomena, Satinder’s yeaning to delve deep into the creations, gave birth to religious and sufiana thoughts in his young mind which later made an impact on his career choice. Gifted with a mellifluous voice and a remarkable range in all octaves, Satinder could have made his career as a pop singer or light classical vocalist, which are financially more rewarding, but following the dictates of his inner soul, he chose to revel in the glory of the mysticism of Sufi saints like Baba Farid, Bulleh Shah, Sultan Bahu, Shah Hussain and others.
Presently teaching at the Department of Music, Panjab University, Satinder attributes his success to his mentor Pankaj Mala Sharma.