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Lata Mangeshkar Passes Away at 92

Hyderabad: To say Lata Mangeshkar was an iconic singer would be the least. The legendary artiste, who had recently completed 80 years since she first sang for radio, had penned a note in Hindi to mark the special day. Her tweet roughly translated to, “On 16 December 1941, I sang 2 songs for the first time in the studio for radio after seeking the blessings of late mai and baba. Today, this event is completing 80 years.”

“In these 80 years, I have got immense love and blessings from the public. I believe that I will always keep getting your love and blessings,” Lata ji had added. Naturally, the veteran singer’s sudden demise sent the entire nation into mourning. She was 92 years old when she breathed her last. Lata ji became yet another legendary singer, after SP Balasubrahmanyam, who lost their lives battling the coronavirus.

Lata ji was admitted to Mumbai’s Breach Candy hospital after contracting Covid-19 and was in the ICU. The singer was also suffering from pneumonia. As per reports, she was admitted to the hospital on January 8, although the public became aware of the news only on January 11. From artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creating a sand sculpture at the Puri beach wishing the singer a speedy recovery to her admirers sending in their wishes on social media, the country was praying for Lata ji to recover.

“Prayers for @mangeshkarlata ji’s speedy recovery,” tweeted singer Salim Merchant had tweeted at the time. “Praying for a speedy recovery dearest Didi… Lots of love & duas.., @mangeshkarlata,” singer Adnan Sami had tweeted.

Lata ji was born on September 28 in 1929, the eldest daughter of Pandit Deenanath Mangeshkar, a Marathi and Konkani musician, and his wife Shevanti in Indore (present-day Madhya Pradesh). She was the eldest child of the family. Meena, Asha, Usha, and Hridaynath, in birth order, are her siblings; all are accomplished singers and musicians. Lata ji was named “Hema” at her birth. Her parents later renamed her Lata after a female character, Latika, in one of her father’s plays, ‘BhaawBandhan’.

Called the Queen of Melody, she was the most respected playback singers of India. She had recorded songs in over a thousand Hindi films and had sung songs in over 36 Indian languages and foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi and Marathi. She has sung close to 30,000 songs in her career that began at the age of 13 when her father died of a heart disease.

Some of iconic songs include ‘Lag Jaa Gale’, ‘Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh’, ‘Pardesia’, ‘Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein’, ‘Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua’, and ‘Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya’, ‘Didi Tera Devar Deewana’.

In her wishes for New Year 2022, the singer hoped the world was freed of the coronavirus. “Namaskar. Aap sab ko naye varsh ki hardik shubh kaamnaayein.Corona ke is sankat se saare vishwa ko mukti mile, aap sab khush rahein,swasth rahein yehi mangal kaamana (sic),” she had penned.

There is no doubt that Lata ji and her contribution to the music world will be remembered forever, although the singer doubted whether her legacy will mean much to future generations. She had said in an earlier interview to a news website, “Nowadays, the young people’s attention span is very limited. They do not live in the past at all. It is the era of instant gratification. Everyone wants to live for the moment. I doubt my legacy will mean as much to future generations as they do to people like you.”

Lata ji was the recipient of numerous awards including National Awards, Padma Bhushan, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, and the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. France conferred on her its highest civilian award, the Officer of the Legion of Honour, in 2007.

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