A Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar
From T.S. Khanna, Alamo, CA
After the partition and Independence, Indian nation was in a disturbed and challenging mood. That is when the Almighty sent a singing angel, Lata M., to sooth the mood. In those pivotal times, Lataji exuded boundless vigor and gravitas in evolving the music from the Sehgal-era into the Lata-era. In the 1950s Lataji was catapulted into quick fame by her song “Aye Ga Aane Wala.” Ever since, she had been the epicenter of the angelical voice in India’s music world.
Lataji’s song “Ah Mere Vatan Ke Logo..” is permanently etched in India’s memory. At times, Indians settled abroad carry a feeling of rootlessness. This song rejuvenates their sense of belonging. The song has a classic appeal and deserves the rank of National Anthem.
What set Lataji apart was her delivery of the songs? She conveyed emotions of every word of the song by placing accent at the right places. She touched the core of the listeners’ emotions and evoked the sights and sounds of the heavenly world. She served as a nexus for reflecting on experiences of diverse people. Her singing transformed the vacant loneliness into thoughtful solitude.
In some of Lataji’s songs like “Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram”, it seemed as if heavens are outpouring through God’s messenger. Her singing felt so personal, while it embraced the entire Indian Nation. She seamlessly melded classical “Ragas” with film songs raising the status of love in India. In her demeanor and delivery of songs she evinced and epitomized Indian culture: boldness tempered with humility.
Lataji’s singing pleased the ears as well as reached the hearts; listeners sensed joy, sorrow, serenity, equanimity, peace and purity. Listening to her songs makes us understand at visceral level that God, truth, and peace reside within us all.
Champions in every field, at times, miss-step in their performance, but Lataji held the peak neat till the end. All music cognoscenti uniformly commended her works. She has well earned a place in the Pantheon of India’s top singers.
On February 6, 2022, Lataji departed for her heavenly abode. Her departure has not only silenced a human voice but also the sounds of heaven that accompanied her voice. Her departure is a farewell to the era she spearheaded and supported with her rare talent. India’s Music World is diminished by her departure.
However, she leaves a spirit that will always remain with us and the memories that will be preserved by the art treasury of India.
May God Bless Lataji’s soul and grant her well-deserved “Moksha”.