Mumbai: In the time of crisis, supporting the country’s defence forces go a long way, and veteran singer Lata Mangeshkar has donated Rs 1 crore to the Soldier’s Welfare Fund.
She is loath to talk about her gesture. “Iss mein kaun si badi baat hai? Badi baat toh hamare jawaankar rahen hain, jaan gawa rahen hain hamari khatir, hamare desh ki khatir. Unhe mera laakhon pranaam. (What’s the big deal in this? It’s our soldiers who are achieving a big feat, they are losing life for us, for the country. I respect them.)”
Lataji believes that everyone should contribute whatever they can. She says, “It’s the least I could do. We should be doing a lot more for the army. Considering what they do for us, we can never repay their debt. However, this doesn’t mean we should lie back and do nothing. Not only me, everyone from my family, my brother and my sisters have donated whatever they could for the soldiers. Even my driver Mahesh has donated 5,000 rupees.”
According to Lataji, donating to the Soilder’s Welfare is an annual thing for the Mangeshkars as they follow the tradition every year on their father Dinananth Mangeshkar’s death anniversary on April 24.
However this donation couldn’t wait. “Whatever the amount, the time to come forward with the donations is now when there is a crisis looming over the border. Our soldiers need to know we are with them in their hour of need. Why are they giving up their lives to protect us? Because they love their country. It makes no sense to wait till my father’s death anniversary. Everyone should give what they can,” she adds.
Lataji is happy to see the entertainment industry coming forward with its support for the army. “We in this industry have always done our bit. Way back in the 1960s Sunil Dutt saab used to take his troupe (Ajanta Arts) to the border to entertain the soldiers. I’ve also been with Dutt Saab and his wife Nargisji on these tours. Whenever we could, we’ve pitched in to show our solidarity with the soldiers.”
Talking about banning Pakistani artist, Lataji says, “Until the differences on the political level are sorted out there’s no point in these cultural exchanges. I am sure Pakistan has good talent. But we are not short of talent. We can manage without them.”...