PM Modi receives Lata Mangeshkar Award

Late singer was India’s cultural ambassador and my elder sister, says Mr. Modi

April 24, 2022 09:03 pm | Updated 09:45 pm IST - Pune

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award in Mumbai on April 24, 2022.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi receives the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award in Mumbai on April 24, 2022. | Photo Credit: PTI

Paying tribute to the late legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said she was India’s cultural ambassador who had left an indelible imprint in the world of music over the nearly eight decades of her long career.

Mr. Modi was speaking at Mumbai’s Shanmukhananda Hall, where he received the first Lata Deenanath Mangeshkar Award, instituted in memory of the legendary singer, who had passed away in February this year, aged 92.

A statement issued by the Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan charitable trust said that the award would be given each year to only one individual with “path-breaking, spectacular and exemplary contributions to the country, its people and the society”.

The award citation praised Mr. Modi, the first recipient, as “an international statesman who has put India on the path of global leadership.”

Saluting the singer as the ‘empress of music’, the PM said that Lata Mangeshkar was akin to his elder sister.

“When the award is in the name of an elder sister like Lata didi, it is a symbol of her oneness and love for me. I dedicate this award for all my countrymen. Like she stood for everyone, the award in her memory also belongs to all. What can be a greater privilege than to have got the love of a sister from Lata didi, who has given the gift of love and emotion to generations,” the Prime Minister said, adding that while he did not usually take to award ceremonies, it was his duty to come and accept this award which was a symbol of the affection of the Mangeshkar family towards him.

Remarking that the iconic singer was the very epitome of simplicity and an exemplar of the idea of a “great India”, the PM said that Lata Mangeshkar’s voice in the thousands of songs that she had sung had left an imprint on the world of music for nearly 80 years.

“Lata didi sang in more than 30 Indian languages. She was present in the hearts of people from every region. She helped bring the devotional songs of our great poet-saints Tulsidas, Dnyaneshwar, Mirabai and Narsinh Mehta into the public consciousness with her mellifluous recitals,” Mr. Modi said.

Speaking of his warm ties and long association with the Mangeshkar family, Mr. Modi reminisced how [late classical singer] Sudhir Phadke had introduced him to Ms. Mangeshkar 40-45 years ago.

“Since then, I have received unlimited affection. I say with great pride that Lata didi was akin to my elder sister. Generations of singers have been inspired by her,” he said.

The PM made special mention of the Deenanath Mangeshkar Hospital established by the late singer in Pune and commended the establishment on its yeoman service for the poor, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Modi, insisting on sitting in the audience, was flanked by Asha Bhosle and Usha Mangeshkar on his left, and by Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari on his right.

The PM was received at the Mumbai airport on his arrival by Maharashtra Environment, Tourism and Protocol Minister Aaditya Thackeray.

However, while top Maharashtra Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders, including Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis were in attendance, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and most of the key ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government leaders — with the exception of Industries Minister Subhash Desai — were conspicuous by their absence in the audience.

According to sources, Mr. Thackeray, along with his family, instead visited the home of a veteran Shiv Sainik, Chandrabhaga Shinde. The octogenarian Ms. Shinde, who has long been a street fighter, snared attention in the recent Hanuman Chalisa row, where she was seen protesting energetically against the MP-MLA wife-husband duo of Navneet and Ravi Rana, who were arrested by the Mumbai Police.

The duo had provocatively announced that they would play the Hanuman Chalisa in front of the Thackerays’ private residence ‘Matoshree’. The Sena, in a stern retort, had dared the Rana couple to come near ‘Matoshree’, with Ms. Shinde turning into a spirited symbol of the party’s protest.

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