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Why Lata Mangeshkar won't celebrate her birthday

By Subhash K Jha
September 28, 2016 15:15 IST
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Lata Mangeshkar

'The love that my well wishers feel for me cannot be enclosed in a bouquet. Why not use that money for the families of the soldiers?'

'I’ve requested my well-wishers to send money to the soldier’s families, whatever they can afford. And I am happy to say they are doing so at my behest.'

Lata Mangeshkar, who celebrates her 87th birthday on September 28, is in no mood for celebrations after the Uri attack.

Saddened by the current scenario, the legendary singer talks to Subhash K Jha about it and sends out a message to her fans.

Your tweet imploring your fans not to use their money to buy flowers and chocolates for your birthday but to help the martyred soldier’s families touched a chord in everyone’s heart.

I sincerely feel we need to stop wasting money, whether it is on food in restaurants or useless gifts like flowers and chocolates.

Every year on my birthday, there are bouquets lining up the entire entrance to my home, right from the entry at the apartment door to my home on the first floor. And these bouquets often cost thousands of rupees. They serve no purpose.

Why do you feel that?

The love that my well wishers feel for me cannot be enclosed in a bouquet. Why not use that money for the families of the soldiers? I’ve seen the pitiable financial condition of the families of martyred soldiers.

I even saw a mother shouldering her soldier son’s corpse. I was deeply saddened. 

That’s when I thought it’s time we took a firm stance on the wastage of financial resources.

Your song Ae Mere Watan Ke Logon, sung 45 years ago, remains a befitting tribute to the soldiers who died at Uri.

I suppose so. Jo shaheed hue hain unki zaraa yaad karo qurbani. Desh ko jawaan sambhalta hai. They give up their lives at a tender age.

Mujhe bahot dukh hota hai. It’s because of the sacrifice of these soldiers that we are able to breathe free air and feel safe in our homes.

So no celebrations?

I have decided I will have no birthday celebration this year. I’ve told my family not to arrange anything and they understand.

I’ve requested my well-wishers to send money to the soldier’s families, whatever they can afford. I am happy to say they are doing so at my behest.

What is your message to your fans?

Everything has changed. Human beings and even the climate has become unpredictable. Extreme weather conditions play havoc with our lives. I am deeply saddened to see children suffer in natural calamities and during war.

I am no one to dole out gyan to anyone. I am an ordinary citizen. I don’t know if I am qualified to comment on such matters. But yes, I do wonder why nations don’t keep their own house in order instead of creating havoc in others’ domain. Why hurl bombs at nations? Hatred kills. Why not work on making our own country beautiful?

Switzerland is considered to be the most peaceful country in the world. Why? Because they concentrate on making their own country better and more developed and they do not look at other countries to harm them. We never hear of violence perpetrated by the Swiss.

What is you message to your fans in Pakistan?

I know the people there are just like us. They want peace. Only some elements don’t want peace. Love your country.

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Subhash K Jha