Prime Minister cherishes memories of Lata Mangeshkar

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Mumbai– Conferred with the 1st ‘Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award’ on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid rich tributes to the legendary late singer, whom he called an ‘older sister’ and whose memories he treasured of her association with here.

“I was introduced to her by Master Sudhir Phadke… For me she was my Lata Didi and Sur Samragyi. I have always received love and blessings from him. The next Rakshabandhan festival will be the first without it,” Modi said in a moving voice, receiving the honor instituted by Master Deenath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratisthan Charitable Trust and Hriday Arts.

He said he has known the Mangeshkar family for over four decades and that Lata Didi was like a ‘Ma Saraswati’ who sang for four to five generations of actors, slipping from gramophone records to cassettes to VCDs , DVD, USB and online, leaving its mark and inspiring eternities.

Recounting incidents and anecdotes, Modi hailed the immense contribution to the world of music and culture, saying that although her physical journey ended on the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, she gave her voice to India long before freedom and the passage of 75 years of the country is also associated with her.

Praising the Mangeshkars’ streaks of patriotism, the prime minister said his father was the source of the conscious love for the country that lay inside Lata Didi – who passed into eternity on February 6.

He recalled the incident from a song, defying the British, written by Veer Savarkar which was performed by Master Deenanath in a program attended by the then Viceroy in Shimla during the freedom struggle.

“Lata Didi regarded music as her ‘rashtra bhakti’ (worshipping the nation) and patriotism was inspired by her songs like ‘Jai Hind Ki Sena’ and ‘Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’,” the prime minister said.

Praising her long and illustrious career, Modi said Lata Didi was like “a melodious manifestation of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshth Bharat’, she sang thousands of songs in over 30 languages, ranging from culture to faith, d East to west and north to south, her notes have united the country, and to the world she has been India’s cultural ambassador.

The Prime Minister said that in general he was not comfortable receiving awards, but when the Mangeshkar family called with honor on behalf of Lata Didi, he could not refuse and that became a symbol of her love and affection for him.

“As Lata Didi belonged to the people, this award in his name also belongs to the masses…I dedicate this award to all compatriots,” said Modi, who sat in the front row in the audience, stood up when his name was called, and went on stage and accepted the honour.

Apart from the Prime Minister, aMaster Deenanath Mangeshkar award was given to Asha Parekh and Jackie Shroff (cinema), Rahul Deshpande (music) and the Dabbawalas’ Nutan Mumbai Tiffin Box Suppliers Charity Trust (social service), with the show led by Harish Bhimani.

Attending the occasion were the entire Mangeshkar clan, Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Industry Minister Subash Desai, Opposition Leader Devendra Fadnavis and other dignitaries. (IANS)