City Spidey brings you the story of how renowned Haryanavi singer Sangeeta Jain and her husband, both residents of Gardenville, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon, faced the odds to be together and the role music played in their lives.
“I was in my first year of graduation and Madhu was two years my senior in Ambala Jain College. We were both active in theatre and music. We shared a good bond that eventually turned into love,” says a blushing Sangeeta Jain, a resident of Garden Ville, DLF Phase IV, Gurgaon.
Ambala was not a modern city in 1978. The love blooming between a Punjabi girl and a Jat boy soon became known. Sangeeta came from a typical Jain family from Ambala who visited only Jain temples. To her, Madhu Sudan Chaudhary (the man whom she would marry later) did not seem a Jat as he did not speak in his native tongue.
By the time Jain reached the final year, her father was aware of the state of affairs and got her admitted into an all-girls college in the city.
And so began the family drama:
“Madhu had left for Chandigarh University for his master’s degree. I had a tough time convincing my father to let me rejoin Ambala Jain College. But I finally managed,” says Jain.
Jain, however, was not allowed to move alone out of the house. There were no mobile phones and landline phones were under the guard of the elders. They could hardly speak to each other but they had several close friends who passed on their messages to each other.
Her parents started to look for a groom and marriage proposals started coming. Things were getting difficult but both Jain and Chaudhary decided not to go against their parents’ wishes.
Chaudhary tells City Spidey, “Both of us were mature enough not to go against the wishes of our parents. We were quite optimistic that one day they would agree. I met and tried speaking to Sangeeta’s taiji, who somehow was able to convince her father after almost 4 years.”
The first inter-caste marriage in Ambala, 1984:
After several ups and downs for almost 7 years, the Punjabi girl and Jat boy tied the knot on November 24, 1984. Sangeeta fondly remembers, â€œIt was the first inter-caste marriage in Ambala and was the talk of the town in those days.Speaking about inter-caste marriages, she says, “Ours was a different time. But, I think today love should not be weighed on the basis of caste. Children should be given freedom of choice. Parents should guide them about right and wrong but should not impose their choice on them.”
She adds that after her marriage, more than 10 inter-caste marriages happened in her family.
New family, new culture:
Though Chaudhary came from an educated family, things such as language, lifestyle, food and dressing sense were different for his bride. Jain says, “However, I received lot of love and affection from the family, which helped me adjust quickly.”
She soon embarked on a quest to learn Haryanvi that got her even more interested in Haryanvi culture.
“Though I cannot speak fluent Haryanvi, I can sing Haryanvi songs very well,” says Sangeeta.
Breaking into the music scene:
In 1994, after 10 years of marriage, Jain completed her post graduation in music from Delhi University.
In 1996, Jain came out with her first album – Ghumar – with renowned singer Vinod Rathod. She also began singing in Haryanvi in the same year and performed for the first time on stage. And since then, there has been no looking back.
She has been singing bhajans on Aakshwani and Aastha TV channel. She tells City Spidey she can sing in five languages, namely Haryanvi, Hindi, Rajasthani, Kashmiri and Punjabi. But she enjoys singing in Haryanvi the most.
She performs at various places across the National Capital Region and has fans following all across the country now.
And the credit goes to:
“Of course, none other than Madhu!” she says.
“He is the one who has always pushed me into singing. In Haryana, where there is still pardah system in villages, he motivated me to perform on stage. He has built that confidence in me,” says Jain.
Chaudhary himself is a theatre artist and has worked in Haryanvi movie Ye Maati Haryane Ki and is empanelled as producer and director with Doordarshan.
Jain remembers how Chaudhary used to record her songs while she used to practice and how he has always been there with her in each of her recordings.
“As a result I have become a bolder or a strong Jatni as Madhu calls me now,” she says.
“Sangeeta is a beautiful singer and who can be her best supporter and critic at the same time other than me. She looks at me for suggestions and I feel blessed to have her with me from past 39 years,” says Chaudhary.
The couple has been living in DLF Phase IV since 2008. They have two daughters, Sapna and Neha, both of whom are married.