Lata Mangeshkar redefined culture as we knew it for she was a citizen of the world
Life on earth is not eternal, and Lata Mangeshkar’s life was no exception. Her cultural contribution not only to India but to the world will be eternal. At age 92, Lata lived an exceedingly bountiful life, one which can hardly be emulated but will be a benchmark for future icons. There is no doubt that she will be missed today and in the future.
Lata’s name will always be embellished in our hearts and minds, for all generations, a la Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore. She was a global cultural diplomat. Her musical interludes over seven decades gave mankind cultural freedom, away from politics and international warfare.
Lata’s life will resonate in our homes and in public places for posterity. We remember her visit to our shores in the 1980s. Lata was a philosopher, a queen in her own right, and unique person… a tireless human being who gave the world a new direction, not only in entertainment, but a philosophy to guide all mankind, not visible with today’s entertainers.
Her life gave us a renewed sense of solidarity ushering peace, concord and harmony in a troubled world of disease, including Covid-19, hunger, untruths, deception and hate. Her voice and her melodies gave mankind renewed hope to live in peace and harmony.
She was virtuous and she gave mankind a new hope, a new message to ignore the tensions and troubles in life, to silently fight the challenges, hoping one day life will be better and happier.
Lata Mangeshkar redefined culture as we knew it, for she was a citizen of the world. In fact, she was in the world, as the world was in her, distilling confidence in every man and woman. There is no doubt that the world has become poorer with her demise. But she did not leave behind a vacuum. In her more than 35,000 songs and renditions, a message is inscribed for each and every one of us.
The question now is: will there be a replacement for her now or in the future? I doubt it because there was only one Lata Mangeshkar. And each one who aspires to her persona will have to carve their own space.
Ironically, the world is also not poorer with her demise. The world is now richer with her contribution to civilization and humanity. She has left a message for all, which was embedded in human happiness, sadness, romance. She fought a battle in our emotions, but we were not fully cognizant of that appeal.
Old-timers recall when the then Radio Trinidad hit the airwaves, the voice of Lata was resplendent. All music lovers of the Indian Diaspora tried to emulate her persona but with little success. And in this process, she knitted the Indian Diaspora worldwide.
And whilst her voice is no more in life, that voice would continue to live on in its eternal quest to usher peace and love among all mankind.
(The author is a Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago-based journalist. Views are personal.)