Lata Mangeshkar: The Goddess Saraswati of Indian Music Industry
An Indian cultural icon, Lata Mangeshkar, is rightfully epithet as the 'Nightingale of India' or the 'Queen of Melody' due to her unparallel achievements and contribution to Indian music. She had sung and composed songs for every mood, age, season, festival, celebration, and occasion of happiness or sadness.
The woman draped in the iconic white saree with a bindi on her forehead and parted hairs left her legacy of an end number of songs to the nation in around 36 different languages. Her songs, rich in imagery, covered a variety of themes and emotions - love, death, separation, among others. With her heavenly voice, wide range, and always so right expressions, she was incompetent of singing out of tune. The repeated lines of her songs across stanzas resemble Nightingale's song - repetitive yet beautiful, thus earning her the title.
She was the voice of every emotion and enthralled generations of Bollywood audiences as the singing voice behind many actresses' performances. She had made her name not just in the Indian film industry but on a global scale. Her voice is mesmerizing and represents the nation's beauty and culture, equally her 'avatar' of a goddess. It wasn't without a reason that generations have regarded Lataji as Goddess Saraswati incarnate.
Though she was far from anonymous, she was honored with Bharat Ratna, India's highest honor, in 2001. The Ministry of Home Affairs said that she would be given a state funeral and that flags at government buildings would be flown at half-staff for two days. She was considered one of the most powerful voices of Indian music, singing more than 50,000 songs in her lifetime.
Lataji could sing in four octaves and recorded many of Bollywood's biggest hits, including "Lag ja gale," "Pyaar kia toh darna kya," "Ajeeb daastaan," to name a few. She continues to live in her songs and has been immortalized.
"Meri awaaz hi pehchaan hai ... chehra ye badal jayege ... meri awaaz hi pechaan hai ... gar yaad rahe" (My voice will be my identity even if the way I look changes). Gulzar Sahab seemed to have written these words, which Lataji sang with Bhupinder Singh in 'Kinara' in 1977, inspired by her life.
"Everyone in the country knows that Gulzar sahab writes beautifully. He also speaks beautifully. When I was singing (this song), he came to me and gently said, 'Meri awaaz hi pehchan hai aur ye hai pehchan'. He said something like this. But later, I also started saying that 'My voice is my identity'. And now whoever sings that song or writes about me says those lines," Mangeshkar had said.
Tweets of honors from National or International leaders
Lata Mangeshkar was cremated with full state honors. PM Modi, megastar Shah Rukh Khan and veteran cricketer Sachin Tendulkar were among the galaxy of leaders who paid tribute to Lata Mangeshkar at Shivaji Park in Mumbai.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi placed a wreath on the mortal remains of the iconic singer, draped in the national flag.
President Kovind said, "Lata-ji's demise is heartbreaking for him as well as millions of people the world over. In Lata Mangeshkar's vast range of songs, rendering the essence and beauty of India, generations found expression of their innermost emotions."
The Vice President said, "India has lost its voice in the death of Lata ji, who has enthralled music lovers in India and across the globe with her mellifluous and sublime voice for many decades."
Prime Minister Modi said, "Lata Didi's songs brought out a variety of emotions, and she closely witnessed the transitions of the Indian film world for decades.
He said he has always received immense affection from Lata Didi, and interactions with her will remain unforgettable. PM Modi tweeted, "She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled, and the coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerize people."
Global leaders and diplomats also extended their solacing on the demise of 'Melody Queen of India.'
Bangladesh President M Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have expressed deep shock and sorrow at the death of the legendary singer of the sub-continent.
Calling Lata Mangeshkar, the empress of music, Prime Minister Hasina, in her condolence message, said that she would remain alive forever in the hearts of the people in the region through her works.
Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa also expressed grief over the demise of the veteran singer. In his message, Mr. Rajapaksa said Lata Mangeshkar's songs transcended borders and gave life to the phrase 'music is a universal language.
Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari remunerated rich tributes to the legendary singer, saying her soulful Nepali songs enriched music in Nepal.
Pak PM Imran Khan pays tribute to Lata Mangeshkar, "With the death of Lata Mangeshkar, the subcontinent has lost one of the truly great singers the world has known. Listening to her songs has given so much pleasure to so many people all over the world," she said in a tweet.
Pakistan's Minister for Information and Broadcasting Chaudhary Fawad Hussain said that Lata Mangeshkar was a melodious queen who ruled the world of music for decades.
In a tweet, France's ambassador to India, Emmanuel Lenain said, he was deeply saddened by Lata Mangeshkar's death and referenced the Officier de la Legion d'Honneur, France's highest civilian award, which it conferred on Nightingale of India" in 2007.
German Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner, paid tribute to Lata Mangeshkar, saying she was a legend and an irreplaceable voice who remained an institution of music for seven decades and her legacy will live forever.
The US embassy in India also paid tribute to Lata Mangeshkar. It said History would mark her contribution to India's music in golden words.
Lata Mangeshkar as inspiration for all generations
From spiritually uplifting bhajans to relaxing romantic numbers to racy, pacy tracks, Lataji had sung all of them in her 73-year career as the voice of the nation.
Her songs are being aired, sung by various talent hunt participants, or remixed by sound engineers. The authenticity of her songs has inspired many singers and in musical talent shows aired on TV channels or FM radio. The legendary songs are the lessons to be learned for the upcoming generation.
Lata Mangeshkar has always been there, the standard diet of our emotions. Lataji is a dream of every singer, and for the people, her songs are sentiments that they have grown with.
From the radio to the internet and mobile phone era, listening to her songs, seeing them picturized in movies, singing them in school and college competitions, or in 'antaksharis,' and dancing to them in wedding sangeet ceremonies, generations have lived the songs for decades. They have been a part of the growing-up years of all Indians.
Lata Didi, as the world will always memorize her, her voice and her face radiating kindness will never fade away.
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