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'Lataji wanted her voice to be part of the Ram Mandir'

January 21, 2024 15:24 IST

'I would like to leave behind my small contribution for the historic day when the Ram temple will be consecrated.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Lata Mangeshkar/Twitter

Lata Mangeshkar was hugely enthused by the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

In a conversation with Subhash K Jha sometime before she passed into the ages, "I don't know whether I will live to see the temple, but I would like to leave behind my small contribution for the historic day when the Ram temple will be consecrated."

Confirming this historic recording, Composer Mayuresh Pai says, "She was singing and working right till the end. She wanted her voice to be part of the Ram Mandir. She made sure she did her recordings even as her health was failing. She is the bravest person I have ever known."

Lataji's shlokas in honour of the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be played on January 22 at the consecration.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi at the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk in Ayodhya. Photograph: ANI Photo

Lataji was a devoted worshipper of Lord Ram. Her renditions in praise of Lord Ram will continue to light up bhakti in the hearts of devotees for decades to come.

It was Lataji's wish to lend her voice to sing the hymns of Ram Raksha by Budh Kaushik Rishi and offer it to the Ram Mandir.

Though Didi could not complete all the hymns of Ram Raksha, her rendition of the last hymn Mata Ramo, Mat Pita Ramchandrah resonates the very essence of Ram Raksha in its totality.

This was her heartfelt homage to Lord Ram.

IMAGE: The Provincial Armed Constabulary band from Varanasi at the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk in Ayodhya, January 19, 2024. Photograph: ANI Photo

Says composer Mayuresh Pai to whom goes the credit for Lataji's last recording, "We started recording this as Lata Didi expressed a wish to record this Ram shlok. We recorded one Marathi Hanumanji strotra and a bit of Ram Raksha. How were we to know that this would be her last recording?"

"We always a kept a small mic in her room. And she knew all the shlokas by heart so she didn't need to consult any song book. You won't believe if I tell you this, but there was the scent of agarbattis in Lataji's room although we did not light any," adds Pai.

"I always believe that Lata Didi's voice is the voice of divinity, the voice of India. She is the mangalya swar of India," he says.

"I remember every detail of her final recording, every syllable that she sang in her room that day is embedded in my heart."

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/