Aye, mere Watan ke logon…
When Melody Queen Lata Mangeshkar sang this patriotic song written by the
‘Monarch of Patriotic Songs’ Kavi Pradeep it became an instant hit. Few may know that the song was not written and composed for a film but it was composed to commemorate the Indian soldiers who were martyred in the Indo-China War in 1962. The song was first performed ‘Live’ by Lata Mangeshkar at National Stadium in New Delhi on the occasion of Republic Day 26 January 1963 in the presence of several lakhs Indians. Among the notable present on the event were President Of India Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The event had many patriotic songs but the event concluded with Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon… sung with such patriotic devotion by Lata Mangeshkar that the National Stadium was brought down by the thunderous applause and cheers by the audience. But the ‘Best Compliment’ came from none other but the Prime Minister Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru. The song had such a mesmerizing impact on Pt. Nehru that he burst into tears. He came on the stage and hugged Lata and said the iconic words, “Lata Beti, tumne aaj mujhe rula diya!”
In an interview, Lata said, “At first I was nervous as the song was composed in hurry and I had not done rehearsals. But composer C. Ramchandra was confident and he infused energy and boosted my confidence. But after the song was sung I was left amazed by the public response. The cream on the cake was Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru’s compliment!” She added, “The song is such a hit that none of my shows is complete until I sing the song.”
Readers would be delighted to know the purpose of the event was to raise funds for the War Widows Fund and the event had generated a whopping Rs 2 lakh!! Another interesting fact of the song is that watching the popularity of the song HMV (The Music Company) had recorded the song the same evening and released the records the next day in the market. The sale of the records was tremendous but Poet Kavi‘s daughter waged a legal battle with HMV as Kavi Pradeep had pledged to donate the royalties obtained from the sale of records of the song to Army Welfare Funds but HMV did not pay the amount to Army Welfare Fund. Hence Mitul, daughter of Kavi Pradeep filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) and in 2005 won the case, as the Bombay High Court ordered music company HMV to pay a lump sum Rs 10 lakh to the Army Welfare Fund as the song’s royalty proceeds.
Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon….after more than several decades even today commands the same sway over the hearts of every Indian and remains the nation’s number one patriotic number.