Bengaluru: War veterans pray for Lata Mangeshkar’s recovery

Not only did this song move Nehru to tears, it strikes a chord with every listener every time it is played: Retired army veteran.

Bengaluru: She has been called the nightingale of India , but the legendary Lata Mangeshkar, who is currently in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital in Mumbai, is much more than that to the soldiers of the country, whom she honoured in one of her most memorable songs, that they have not forgotten to date.

It was on January 26, 1963, that Lata Mangeshkar sang her iconic song, Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, penned by Kavi Pradeep as a tribute to the war heroes of the 1962 Indo-China war, before the late Prime Minister, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, moving him to tears. But the song equally stirred the men in uniform to whom it was addressed and proved an inspiration to many more, down to present times, with soldiers marking the Sino-Indian conflict in November 1962 at a simple ceremony in Bengaluru.

“Not only did this song move Nehru to tears, it strikes a chord with every listener every time it is played. A message about the supreme sacrifice, sung in a voice so pure! Who can remain untouched! I choke each time I hear her singing it. I pray for her good health,” said retired army veteran, Col Manjit Singh, referring to the singer’s ill health. Kavi Pradeep, who penned the song moved by the sacrifice of Maj Shaitan Singh in the Battle of Rezang La, believed that only Lata Mangeshkar could do justice to it and she did not disappoint.

As Kargil war veteran, Maj Rakesh Sharma, says, the song became the heart and soul of the men in uniform at the time and the lyrics inspired them to give their everything for the nation. "I grew up listening to this song and it made me more inclined to nationalism, reminding me of my moral responsibility to my motherland. This song has always reminded me of the heroes of the 1962 war and it made me believe that only a few get the chance to die for the nation. Besides this song, the Kargil conflict was another reason for me to join the army,” said Maj Santhosh Kumar (retd).

Next Story