Singer Lata Mangeshkar said on Monday that she had not imagined that her song Ae mere watan ke logon would acquire an iconic status and become hugely popular in the country and abroad.

“Initially, I did not know the song will become so popular,” she said at a function organised to mark the 51st anniversary of her song here this evening.

The song, composed by C. Ramachandra, was written by Kavi Pradeep in honour of Indian soldiers who lost their lives in the 1962 war with China.

Mangeshkar, 84, famously sang the song in the presence of Nehru on the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi, on January 27, 1963. She said that after the function ended she was called by Nehru. “At first I was nervous, thinking I have committed some mistake. But when I met Panditji, I saw tears in his eyes.”

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