Lata Mangeshkar Lives On

Lata Mangeshkar, the legendary singer ofIndian film industry, Bollywood, has charmed millions with her enchanting voice and music and impeccable style. Known as the ‘Nightingale of India’, she is among the most popular playback singers who sang for nearly eight decades. She even created her own music label and had an exceptional impression on music creators and lovers.

Lata’s career reflects many attributes. Music was her soul mate/sole companion. It all started when she was very young. Her father began training her in music from an early age and was also seen on stage as an actress in plays scripted by her father. After he passed away, she began singing in publicand worked hard to support the family.

Endowed with natural singing, an everlasting-adolescent voice, versatility, simplicity, will power and commitmentshe faced many challenges. Her rich repertoire of music included film playback singing and devotional songs. As she sang from her heart, her music touched known personalities and commoners and inspired aspiring musicians. Female Bollywood actors felt honoured that she sang for them.

Her career spans over nearly eight decades and is a testimony of the stamina for daily practice. At times, it takes long hours to record music and requires patience and strength to sing. Nothing deterred her. She was a single independent woman and age did not slow her down.

Known for wearing the classic two long plaits and a plain white sari, she was a symbol of crisp simplicity. Modest and unassuming, she matched the trend-setting fashionable leading ladies of the film industry with theinner beauty that radiated in her music. It bestowed her outer self an innocence, serenity, depth, peace, and love.

Self-motivated, Lata made no compromiseseven though she faced many challenges.Emotionally strong, committed,and intelligent, she accepted feedback with humility and worked toward overcomingweaknesses. With many Urdu poets in Bollywood in the fifties and sixties, the lyrics of songs in movies predominantly had more Urdu words. Once actor Dilip Kumar commented on her Maharashtrian accent in her singing. Sensitive to the needs of the industry she took lessons in Urdu from the teacher, Ustad Aman Ali for some time. Her rendering thus became clear and her interviews are evidence of this. Renowned surgeon Dr Javed Iqbal (Quade Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, Pakistan) in his tribute to Lata said that every word of the lyrics is packed with clarity and dexterity.

In early fifties, genderpoliticsenmeshed Bollywood film music industry. However, with her dedication and hard work she became an icon and won several awards. Major ones are: the Bharat Ratna – India’s highest civilian honour; the Daughter of the Nation (India) award; in 2007 the Officer of the Legion of Honour- the highest civilian award of France; and was the first Indian to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. In 1974 she became the most recorded artist in the history of Indian music in Guinness Record.

Lata did not shy from the new wave music that swept the film industry and continued with her first love – singing. She usedit as an opportunity to launch her own music label, called LM Music. The most recent release was the song Saugandh Mujhe Is Mitti Ki, a tribute to the Indian army and India. The book entitled “Lata Mangeshkar: A Musical Journey” lauds the difficulties that she singly and bravely faced in her impeccable career. In spite of all these achievements, she wore her stardom and fame rather lightly and gently. This enamoured her fans worldwide.

Osho saysthat sounds are natural and meaningless but man has imposed meaning on them. For example, the sound of breeze in the bamboo trees, streaming water, and the singing of the cuckoo. Ancient most music was born out of meditation by meditatorsto impart their experience of the divine silence.He says it is his assumption that they listened to their inner silence but did not know how to share it. So they gave the sounds a rhythmic harmony, which penetrates our hearts.

Generally, we think that music consists of sounds. But he says: “To the ordinary musician the sound is important. To the master musician the silence is important: he uses sound only to create silence.”

As the music becomes intense and deep, it draws you inwards. It consists of the silence between two sounds.This is why Classical music was sung in temples for experiencing silencein meditation.Music is sheer joy and celebration because it is closest to silence.

“Listening to great music you suddenly become silent – with no effort. Falling in tune with the music you lose your ego with no effort. You become relaxed, you fall into a deep rest. You are alert, awake, and yet in a subtle way drunk.”

Close your eyes, listen to her music to imagine the inner joy of Lata when she sang it. You will feel that she and always rejoiced singing and so her music will live beyond her life.

Excerpts from:

Osho: Sat Chit Anand, Talk #27

Osho: The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 12

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