A Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar – 28.9.1929 to 6.2.2022: The Uncrowned Queen of Music
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A Tribute to Lata Mangeshkar – 28.9.1929 to 6.2.2022: The Uncrowned Queen of Music

February 7, 2022

By Dr. Manik A.V. Bengeri

Sunday morning, 6.2.22, was an unfortunate day for all of us, more so for the musical world — the music lovers, singers, music directors, music composers, accompanying artistes, poets etc. of Bollywood. Reason: Their inspiring power, the Queen of Indian Music Lata Mangeshkar left them.

However, I am sure it is big gain for Lord Indra, the King of Heaven, who was disappointed with the performance of his Court dancers since 90 years! When asked, he got reply from them that there were no good singers in heaven.

History tells us that on 28th September, 1929, a baby girl was born in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, to Deenanath Mangeshkar and Shevanti Mangeshkar couple, whom they named ‘LATA’. After Lata, the couple had four more children, three daughters and one son. They were named as Asha, Usha, Meena and Hridaynath respectively.

Deenanath was from Goa and had settled in Indore for his livelihood. He was a good singer as well as a good actor. His mother was an artiste, a singer from Maharashtra and was serving Lord Mangesh of Goa. Deenanath picked all the specialities of Hindustani Music and Indian Theatre but could not earn sufficient income in Goa. Hence, he was compelled to leave Goa and received patronage from the King of Indore, an art lover. The King had many artistes in his Court and Deenanath too earned name, fame and money there.

Deenanath had established a Drama Company and used to present musical dramas on stage. Lata was good at singing and thus at the tender age of five, she acted in one of his dramas in which she had to sing a few songs. Unfortunately, Deenanath expired in the year 1942 and the elder daughter, Lata had to shoulder the responsibility of the family.

Lata took bold decision to act, sing and earn money to run the family. She was hardly 13 but was very brave. She became the breadwinner of the family, became mother to her mother as well as her sisters and brother. Lata was gifted with melodious voice and was trained well by her father. She put all her efforts and started working in movies as well. After shifting to Mumbai, the new doors opened for her and gradually she established herself as a very good playback singer.

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In true sense, Lata was the incarnation of Goddess Saraswati. Thus, along with inborn talent, Lata’s hard work, sincerity and humble nature took her to the peak of success. All the awards, recognition were waiting for her with folded hands including the highest civilian award — ‘Bharat Ratna’ (2001). Lata has sung innumerable songs in different languages which will remain permanently in the memory of all.

Death in the month of Magha is considered to be very auspicious as the deceased will directly go to heaven! We have references from Mahabharata (Dwapara Yuga) where the real heir of Kuru Dynasty, Bhishma Pitamaha had to wait on the bed of arrows as he never wanted to die during Dakshinayana. He waited until Uttarayana and the Magha month.

Co-incidentally, the 5th of February, 2022 was Goddess Saraswati Puja Day, Magha Sukla Panchami and the very next day (Feb. 6), Lata received invitation from Mother Saraswati. I wonder, how many could see it, but I could see a well-decorated golden staircase at Shivaji Park in Mumbai for the pious soul of Lata Mangeshkar, to reach heaven and Lord Indra himself waiting to recieve this great singer.

Such great souls are born only once in thousand years and we were lucky to hear her golden voice for so long. She was and will remain the ‘Uncrowned Queen of Music’ for generations to come.

PS: I have an unforgettable memory in connection with Lata Mangeshkar: In 1975, I met Lata at Sambre Airport (Belgaum) as during those days there were no direct flights from Mumbai to Kolhapur. Lata had to come to Belgaum and then go by road to Kolhapur for her work. On seeing her at the airport, I literally ran to her and to my surprise, she smiled and spoke very softly with me. A golden moment in my life!

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[A Hindustani musician, singer and a critic, Dr. Manik Bengeri has also authored many books]


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