Dedicating a road intersection in Ayodhya after Lata Mangeshkar on her 93rd birth anniversary, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that many countrymen experienced Lord Ram through the songs of the legendary singer.
The PM recalled that after he performed ‘bhoomi pujan’ for the Ram Temple in August 2021, Lata Mangeshkar called him and expressed “great joy that the Ram Temple was finally happening”. “This day makes me remember a bhajan sung by Lata didi – ‘Mann ki Ayodhya tab tak sooni, jab tak Ram na aaye’,” the PM said in his pre-recorded speech that was played at the inauguration ceremony. He then declared: “Ayodhya ke bhavya mandir mein Sri Ram aane waale hain (Sri Ram is coming to the grand temple of Ayodhya).”
“Be it Shri Ramchandra Kripalu Bhaj Mann, Haran Bhava Bhaya Darunam mantra, or be it hymns like Payo Ji Maine Ram Ratan Dhan Payo of Meerabai; be it Bapu’s favourite Vaishnav Jan, or be it sweet melodies like Tum Asha Vishwas Hamare Ram, many countrymen had the darshan of Lord Ram through her songs,” the prime minister said.
The event was attended by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy among others.
A 40-ft-long and 12-metre-high veena, weighing 14 tonnes, installed at the intersection named Lata Smriti Chowk, was also unveiled. “Lata-ji was one such seeker of Maa Saraswati, who stunned the whole world with her divine voice. Lata-ji did sadhana, we all got the boon… The hymns recited by her echoed her faith, spirituality and purity,” the PM said, adding “the veena of Maa Saraswati will symbolise her devotion to the music”.
The water body surrounding the roundabout — situated near the Ram Ki Paidi ghat by the Saryu river — has been decorated with 92 lotuses made of white marble. “The 92 white marble lotuses in the lake at the chowk complex represent Lataji’s lifespan,” he said.
Earlier in the day, the PM tweeted: “Remembering Lata Didi on her birth anniversary. There is so much that I recall…the innumerable interactions in which she would shower so much affection. I am glad that today, a chowk in Ayodhya will be named after her. It is a fitting tribute to one of the greatest Indian icons.”
Recalling his memories of the singer, who passed away in February this year, Modi said the sweetness of her voice mesmerised him every time he spoke to her. “[Lata] Didi often used to tell me: ‘A man is not known by age but by deeds, and the more he does for the country, the bigger he is’… I believe, the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk of Ayodhya and all such memories associated with her will enable us to feel a sense of duty towards the nation,” he said.
Quoting the Ram Charit Manas, Modi recited “Ram te adhik, Ram kar dasa”, which means devotees of Lord Ram arrive before the Lord’s arrival. “The Lata Mangeshkar chowk built in her memory has come up before the completion of the grand temple,” he noted.
“From Ayodhya to Rameswaram, Lord Ram exists in every particle of India… Ram is the symbol of our civilization and living ideal of our morality, values, dignity and duty,” the PM said, adding that pictures of the under-construction Ram Temple are generating excitement in the entire country. He also urged the residents of Ayodhya “to be ready to welcome a large number of devotees from across the world”.
At the event, CM Adityanath also urged the people of Ayodhya to get ready as the Ram temple was coming up “soon” and said that the temple town has undergone a huge transformation in the last five-and-half years. “We must take forward the beautification work of Ayodhya in a time-bound manner so that as the under-construction grand Ram Temple gets ready and the world gets to witness Ayodhya as the most well-planned and beautiful city as it was during “Treta-yug,” said Adityanath, adding every road crossing in Ayodhya will be made as grand as Lata Smriti Chowk. “They will be named after saints and those who were associated with the Ram Janmabhoomi movement,” the CM added.
The Lata Smriti Chowk has been developed at an estimated cost of Rs 7.9 crore, according to officials. The veena has been made by Padma Shri recipient Ram Sutar, officials said.