India’s Queen of Melody, Lata Mangeshkar, in a chat with Subhash K Jha, had expressed concern over the growing divisive environment and bitterness in the country. On her 92nd birthday, she urged people to rise above petty concerns and think like an Indian. Here is the excerpt from the conversation with the legend whose melodious voice will live forever in our hearts:
Another year, another birthday, Didi, how you feeling?
Bataoon aapko main sach? Hand andar se dukhi hoon. There is so much division in the country. People are increasingly turning to the “Main Hindu hoon woh mussalmaan hai”. This climate of suspicion and hostility must end. I had hoped and prayed that this kind of divisive atmosphere would be over for a long time. But I’m sorry to say it’s getting worse. People are killing each other in the name of religion.
The one factor that unifies all Indians is your voice?
It’s music to my ears. Believe me, when you say that, I feel very humbled. At the risk of sounding shameless…
You and immodest? Impossible!
(Laughs) Nahin mujhe bolne dijiye. I feel that I received more love and respect than anyone else in this country. Indians everywhere love me. They react with strong affection to the mere mention of my name. And that has been the script for over 75 years of my life.
It’s because you gave us so much joy with your songs. More so now in these dark and desperate times of Corona!
These are truly terrible times. Login ne ek doosre se milna bandd ka diya. In our house every year, since my childhood, we had Ganesh Chaturthi for ten days. This year we had to say goodbye to Ganpati Bappa in a day and a half. We can’t breathe properly because of the masks, let alone sing. Waise bhi connection ka milna-julna kamm ho gaya that. Corona ne toh khatm kar diya (social interaction had declined even before Corona. This pandemic killed it.)
I have seen and heard you interact with the biggest politicians and the smallest fans, your attitude and your tone remain the same!