When Nehru Became Emotional On Hearing This Song Of Lata

by Ritu Versha 4 years ago Views 4264

Lata Mangeshkar
It was 1962 when the crushing defeat of India at the hands of China cast a pall of gloom and despondency over the entire nation. The countrymen were so agonized even the Indian government had no hopes and sought help from the filmy world and poets. The government asked them to compose something that would boost the morale of the countrymen and provide solace to them in tough times.

Moved from the tragedy, Kavi Pradeep penned down the stirring lyrics of ’Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon’ that not only reignited the confidence among citizens but also served as a tribute to the soldiers who laid down their lives in defense of the country.


Pradeep proposed to Lata Mangeshkar to give her voice to the song, but at first she denied to sing it, saying she got no time for rehearsals. When he insisted, she later agreed. The song is not in any movie. It was first sung at the Republic Day celebrations in 1963 in Delhi, in the presence of Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. After hearing Lata’s pathos-filled rendition, Nehru was moved to tears: “Beti, tune aaj mujhe rula diya”. The event was a fundraiser organised for army soldiers, through which around Rs. 2 lakh was raised, equivalent to Rs. 1.2 crores today. But as luck would have it, Kavi Pradeep, who wrote the song, never got to witness the moment as he was not invited to the event.

Koyi Sikh koyi Jat Maratha, koyi Gurkha koyi Madrasi, 

Sarhad par marnewala, har veer tha Bharat vaasi, 

Jo khoon gira parvat par, woh khoon tha Hindustani, 

Jo shahid huye hain unki, zara yaad karo qurbaani

These are the lyrics of the song which is still popular.

There may not be a moment when somebody, somewhere, is not listening to a song sung by Lata Mangeshkar. It has been so for the last six decades or so. From the age of five to turning 90 today, her first love has always been music. After her father Dinanath Mangeshkar’s death, she, at the age of 13, was forced to become the family's main breadwinner. She took to singing and acting to make ends meet.

Lata faced numerous rejections from contemporary music composers as they found her voice too thin and sharp, as opposed to the preferred style of that time. She was often compared to the famous singer of the time Noor Jahan. But step by step her dedication and talent led her to a great many works.

Today the world calls Lata Mangeshkar with various titles like the nightingale of India and Voice of Millennium. In her career spanning over 70 years, she has received many accolades and honours including the Padma Bhushan (1969), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1989), NTR National Award (1999), Bharat Ratna (2001) and Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award (1993).

Interestingly, Lataji herself does not even know how many songs she has sung till date. Some put the number up to 50,000. She holds the Guinness Book of World Records for having sung at least 30,000 songs between 1948 and 1987. She has recorded songs in 36 languages. Her voice sometimes brought tears to people’s eyes or rendered support to the soldiers standing at the border.

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