Legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar, who died on Sunday after weeks of hospitalisation, was cremated with full state honours at Mumbai’s iconic Shivaji Park this evening bringing an end to a splendid and decorated career spanning seven decades. She was 92.
Just before the last rites, the national flag in which the body was draped, was handed over to the family members. Lata Mangeshkar’s brother Hridaynath Mangeshkar lit the funeral pyre of the singing legend.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the Shivaji Park to pay his last respects to the singer and met the Mangeshkar family members and consoled them. He left the venue before the funeral.
Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister tweeted saying he is “anguished beyond words”.
“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,” he said in a tweet.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said she remained the “most beloved voice of India for many decades” and added that her immortal golden voice will continue to echo in the hearts of her fans.
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, superstar Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Ranbir Kapoor, lyricist Javed Akhtar, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, among others, were also in attendance to pay their last respects.
The Reserve Bank of India rescheduled its monetary policy committee meeting by a day to February 8-10, it said in a statement, citing a public holiday announced in the state of Maharashtra to mourn the death of the singer.
A recipient of the Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Dadasaheb Phalke Awards, Lata Mangeshkar was an icon of Indian cinema, having sung playback for an extensive list of Hindi films.
One of the famous episodes of her life is when her music moved Jawaharlal Nehru to tears. On January 27, 1963 during the backdrop of the India-China war, Lata Mangeshkar sang Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon in the presence of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, bringing him to tears.
Subcontinent leaders, including Pakistan’s Imran Khan, sent their tributes to the legendary singer.
“With the death of Lata Mangeshkar the subcontinent has lost one of the truly great singers the world has known. Listening to her songs has given so much pleasure to so many people all over the world,” Imran Khan tweeted.
Lata Mangeshkar’s death has created a “great void in the subcontinent’s musical arena”, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said as she recalled ‘the empress of music’ with gratitude for her role in the Liberation War of 1971 against Pakistan.
Nepal’s President Bidya Devi Bhandari recalled the contribution of “genius” Lata Mangeshkar to Nepali songs as she paid her tribute to the singer.
“I am saddened by the news of the demise of famous Indian singer Lata Mangeshkar, who has also lent her melodious voice to many Nepalese songs,” Ms Bhandari tweeted in Nepali language.
Lata Mangeshkar, who belonged to a prominent musical family, also composed music as well as produced a handful of films. She was popularly known as the ‘Nightingale of India.’
In her melodious voice, Lata Mangeshkar had sung over 50,000 songs in 14 languages since her radio debut in 1941.
The central government has announced a two-day “state mourning” on the death of the legendary singer. The national flag will fly at half mast from February 6 to February 7 throughout India and there will be no official entertainment in this period.
(With agency inputs)