The passing of the legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar feels like a personal loss. Generations of people of the entire Indian sub-continent grew up listening to her songs. The news of Lata Mangeshkar's demise on Sunday morning in Mumbai's Breach Candy hospital at the age of 92 plunged the entire sub-continent into mourning. An important part of India's musical legacy is lost forever.
Lata Mangeshkar was given a state funeral on Sunday evening. Her last rites were attended by the country's top politicians and dignitaries. The leading stars of the film fraternity turned out to pay their respects, among them actor Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Vidya Balan and poet Javed Akhtar.
Her siblings - Asha Bhosle, Meena Khadikar, Usha Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar - and the entire family was present at the funeral and paid tribute to the late singer.
She was admitted into a hospital in early January after she tested positive for COVID-19 and was also diagnosed with pneumonia.
The singer was put back on ventilator on Saturday as her condition worsened. Family members, including her sister Asha Bhosle visited her at the hospital. The singer breathed her last on February 6, at 8:12 am.
Two-day national mourning has been announced by the Indian government in Lata Mangeshkar's memory. The Indian tricolour will be at half-mast as a mark of respect to the legend. The chief minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray has announced a state funeral for Lata Mangeshkar.
Legend and her legacy
Lata Mangeshkar was the recipient of India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, for her contribution to Indian film music.
The icon dominated the Indian playback singing in Bollywood in her career spanning more than seven decades. In a sense, she was India's voice, which is now silenced.
The classically trained singer recorded songs for over a thousand Hindi films, apart from singing in about 36 languages, though primarily in Hindi and Marathi.
She belonged to a prominent musical family and was the oldest of the famous Mangeshkar siblings - Asha Bhosle, Meena Khadikar, Usha Mangeshkar and Hridaynath Mangeshkar.
Tributes pour in
Tributes have started pouring in for the Nighingale of India, as she was popularly known, from her admirers from all quarters of the world as the news of her demise spreads.
"Love, respect and prayers," tweeted Oscar- and Grammy-winning Indian musician A R Rahman. Mangeshkar sang a number of his award-winning songs.
"Lata-ji’s demise is heart-breaking for me, as it is for millions the world over. In her vast range of songs, rendering the essence and beauty of India, generations found expression of their inner-most emotions. A Bharat Ratna, Lata-ji’s accomplishments will remain incomparable," tweeted Indian President Ram Nath Kovind.
"I am anguished beyond words," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.
"The kind and caring Lata Didi has left us. She leaves a void in our nation that cannot be filled. The coming generations will remember her as a stalwart of Indian culture, whose melodious voice had an unparalleled ability to mesmerise people," Modi added.
"Received the sad news of Lata Mangeshkar ji’s demise. She remained the most beloved voice of India for many decades. Her golden voice is immortal and will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans. My condolences to her family, friends and fans," Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
"Heartbroken to hear about Didi’s passing away. She’s been my guru and my biggest inspiration. My heartfelt condolences to the family. May her soul rest in peace," wrote Kavita Krishnamurti Subramaniam, an eminent playback singer herself.
"Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Lata ji. Her melodious songs touched millions of people around the world. Thank you for all the music and the memories. My deepest condolences to the family & the loved ones," tweeted Virat Kohli, former captain of Indian cricket team.
(Reported by Mily Chakrabarty; edited by Seban Scaria)
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