Bengal declares half-day holiday today

Bengal declares half-day holiday today

KOLKATA: As a mark of respect to Lata Mangeshkar, the Nightingale of India—who also has around 200 Bengali songs to her credit—the state government has declared a half-day holiday for all its offices across Bengal on Monday as the iconic singer left for her heavenly abode on Sunday in Mumbai. Mourning her death Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, tweeted: "I pay my heart-felt tribute to the departed icon of India, Bharatratna Lata Mangeshkar. While offering my sincerest condolences to her family and the billions of admirers that she leaves behind all over the world, I express my deepest sadness at the demise of the genius that the Nightingale of India truly was."

Banerjee further wrote on Twitter: "Like all her fans and followers across the planet, I was also mesmerised by her voice and renderings, and felt grateful that she held Bengal and the artistes of the East so dear to her heart and so integral to her magnificent world of music."

It was also announced that Lata Mangeshkar's songs will be played across the state for the next 15 days.

Echoing similar sentiments, national general secretary of Trinamool Congress (TMC) and party's MP, Abhishek Banerjee, tweeted: "Deeply pained by the passing away of Lata Mangeshkar ji. Her legendary voice will continue to live in our hearts. May her soul rest in peace. I offer my heartfelt condolences to her family, loved ones and fans across the world." The Information and Cultural Affairs department has decided to keep a portrait of the singer at Rabindra Sadan to allow her admirers to pay their respect to the departed soul.

In a telephonic interview to a vernacular television channel, Mamata Banerjee said: "The state government had wished to confer Bangabibhusan on Lataji and approached her through Sanjiv Goenka. She was very happy to hear this but expressed her inability to come and receive the award." The Chief Minister also added that she often plays the tunes of the songs sung by Mangeshkar. "During my youth, I used to listen to her songs in Anurodher Asar, a popular programme in All India Radio," she added.

Lataji's connection with Bengal dated back to 1956 and continued for four decades. She lent her voice to many Bengali songs, including songs by Rabindranath Tagore. Mangeshkar was made to sing Bengali songs for the first time by noted composer-singer, Hemanta Mukherjee. She also crooned quite a number of songs composed by Salil Chowdhury. Her most common collaborator from the Bengali music industry was Mukherjee, who composed her first Bengali record 'Prem Ekbari Eshechhilo Jibone' in 1957. It is believed that she was helped by Mukherjee to learn the Bangla language. The composer had also introduced her to Rabindrasangeet for the first time. She sang Tagore's "Tumi Rabe Nirobe '' as a duet with Mukherjee.

Two of her songs—'Akash Pradip Jwale' and 'Koto nishi geche nidharae', written by Pabitra Mitra and composed by Satinath Mukherjee, were released before the Durga Puja. Both songs were instant hits. Mourning the demise of Lataji the Chairman of Saregama India Limited, Sanjiv Goenka—who had always considered her to be one of her family members—said: "Latha Ji and my mother were like sisters. She has been a true inspiration, a legend, and a guiding light to our family. Though she is no more, her music will continue to enthrall us for years to come. My family will always remember her warmth, her love and her affection."

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed that songs of Lata Mangeshkar will be played across the state for the next 15 days.

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