Lata Mangeshkar’s association with Veer Savarkar – the nationalist connect & how it was formed

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New Delhi: The iconic Lata Mangeshkar was not only a veritable singer but was closely associated with controversial Hindu nationalist and freedom fighter Vinayak Damodar Savarkar as well. 

Journalist Vaibhav Purandare in his book Savarkar: The True story of Father of Hindutva wrote that after Savarkar was released from the Andaman jail, he settled in Ratnagiri and started a campaign to include children from lower-caste families in local schools.

According to the author, Mangeshkar attended an inter-caste dinner organised by Savarkar, with her father, singer and stage artist Dinanath Mangeshkar, when she was just five.

The author writes in his book, “One enthusiastic participant at these dinners was the singer and stage artiste Dinanath Mangeshkar. The impresario had recently developed a friendship with Savarkar, and he visited the internee (Savarkar was not allowed to leave Ratnagiri) off and on with his family in tow.” 

It is believed, Savarkar looked forward to the vegetarian pulao cooked by Lata’s mother. The author further wrote, “On one such visit, Dinanath decided to take his five-year-old daughter Lata along for one of Savarkar’s inter-caste dinners. 

In a 2018 interview, the recently deceased singer had even stated that her mother was concerned about sending her to the dinner, adding that the dinners were mostly male affairs, and children who had barely started school were never included in the partaking. 

Speaking about the incident and how her father convinced his wife to allow a young Lata to attend, she had said, “He told my mother, ‘She needs to know right now what Savarkar is doing and why it’s so necessary.”

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Later, Mangeshkar went on to lend her voice to some of the Marathi songs written by Savarkar like Jayostute jayostute, shree mahanmanglee, Nee mazasi ne, parart mathribhoomila, sagara pran talmalala as well as two songs on Marartha warrior king Shivaji — ‘Jai Dev Shivraya’ and ‘He Hindu Nrasinha Prabho Shivaji Raja’.

The songs were composed by Mangeshkar’s younger brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar.

Such was the connection between the two families that in an old interview, the late singer had said,  Savarkar, fondly known as ‘Tatya’, was like a family member.

“When my father was to go to a Harijan locality, I too wanted to go with him. Mother advised me not to go. Baba said an inter-caste gathering over food has been organised by Tatya in the Harijan locality. At that time, it was a big thing to have inter-caste gatherings over food. So this is how I was introduced to Tatya,” she had revealed. 

Mangeshkar had also once revealed that the Pune University started a chair in Savarkar’s name and it was decided to do a programme in his honour, but despite being invited, he could not attend due to bad health.

first published:Feb. 7, 2022, 6:35 p.m.

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