RIP Amit Saigal

The man who has done the most to promote rock music in India has passed away. Amit Saigal, founder and editor of music magazine the Rock Street Journal, drowned while swimming off a Goa beach on Thursday. Saigal was swimming with his friends near their anchored sail boat off Bogmalo beach, 35 km from Panaji in Goa. Saigal’s friends who were present there said that he was asthmatic and could have had an asthma attack when he was swimming, while the entourage had anchored the sail boat mid-sea. Lifeguards responded to wild gesticulation on the boat seen through binoculars and sent a couple of guards on a ski jet. Saigal was lifted to the boat by his friends and was lain on the side of the boat with no pulse.

Saigal was later taken to hospital where he was declared dead. The police have registered the case as an unnatural death and the autopsy is likely to be conducted soon.

Amit Saigal, founder and editor of the music magazine Rock Street Journal was responsible for popularising independent music scene in India to a great extent. He started Rock Street Journal in January 1993 in Allahabad with Shena Gamat Saigal after they realised the lack of support system for Indian rock musicians. Saigal had over 25 years of experience in the music business in India, and was closely involved in the club as well as the concert market in India, and had been an encouraging entity to many emerging rock bands and musicians. Some of the biggest contributions to the music scene include the festivals started by him which include Great Indian Rock Festival popularly known as GIR, Global Groove Festival & Convention, Pubrockfest, Jazz Utsav and Rocktoberfest and the latest inclusion being the India Music Week.

I had every issue of RSJ from that first almost rustic looking copy in 1993 till around 2006. I still have a few issues lying in my cupboards. RSJ was the single most lifeline for a lot of Indian rockers because it fueled our passion for the bands & music we loved at an affordable price. I could never afford Rolling Stone or Guitar Player at the age of 17 but RSJ was easy to buy and I subscribed to it for years. Thank you Amit for being a beacon of shining light in a once desolate desert of musical journalism. The rockers & musicians of India owe you a lot.

Amit Saigal (6 July 1965 – 5 January 2012) Rest in Peace.

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