The rumour have been making rounds since years but there have been no credible evidence to prove Lata Mangeshkar refused to sing Ambedkarite song.
Within hours of her demise, the name of Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar got dragged into a controversial-cum-malicious discussion wherein it was being claimed that she had refused to sing Ambedkarite song. Lata Mangeshkar was a Bharat Ratna in every sense of what it means to be one. She has left behind her, a legacy of thirty thousand songs in many different languages. Therefore it becomes necessary to address this malicious gossip being shared on social media after her death.
A strong nationalist, believer, and supporter of Hindu culture and identity, Lata Mangeshkar had always been a personality that usually stayed away from any controversy. She did not need any cheap tricks to become popular. She never took shortcuts to success and toiled hard to attain excellence in the art she is known for. That is why she stands tall as an inspiring figure for any upcoming artist. Proficient in every genre of music, she had inherited music from her father Master Deenanath Mangeshkar. Her father was a Konkani Saraswat while her mother was Gujarati. With a family believing in unity, and not in differences, she carried a feeling of harmony in her blood.
After her death, a particular section of so-called activists of the neo-Ambedkarite cum Naxalite movement have claimed that she was a symbol of Brahminical thought doctrine which is one of the so-called oppressive thoughts.
It is a common rumour that Marathi Dalit artists and poets had approached Lata Mangeshkar to sing a song on Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar (Bhim Geet) and she had refused to sing any such song. The names of the poets and artists start from Waman Dada Kardak who is very well known for the Vidrohi songs he wrote. The list includes stalwarts of the Dalit Panther movement Namdeo Dhasal and Raja Dhale. Often a reference of an alleged informal talk by Waman Dada Kardak is given to base this theory on. In this so-called memoir, Waman Dada Kardak had reportedly said that he went to Lata Didi’s house to request her to sing a Bhim Geet. Waman Dada Kardak is further quoted to have said that she offered him a delicious meal but refused to sing a Bhim Geet.
Words are put into her mouth as “Tya Mahardyache gaane mi ganar nahi” which means I will not sing a song of that Mahar (it is a caste) person. This whole theory does not have any concrete base except for such hearsay things. Lata Mangeshkar lived for 92 years. In these many years, there has not been any credible interview of any artist who has repeated such allegations. Even after her demise, while making such claims, no concrete proof as such is being presented by the so-called Dalit activists to support their claim. Even when she was alive, such claims were being made in programs organized by educational campuses like Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University.
Lata Mangeshkar has been a voice that united the nation in the toughest of the times like the 1962 war against China. It was her voice that made Nehru shed tears, most probably realizing the blunders he had committed, rather than just in memory of the brave soldiers. Terming classical music, which Lata Mangeshkar had inherited from her father Master Deenanath Mangeshkar, as Brahminical is also a fashion among these neo-Ambedkarites. This is why any classical singer is termed as the carrier of so-called oppressive Brahminical notions. But the only probable fact in this matter, if at all it is true, is that either she never had any such offer or she would be waiting for better lyrics in the offered Bhim Geet if any, as she was very keen on the poetry inherent in the songs she chose.
It must be noted here that another talented singer from the current generation Adarsh Shinde who too hails from a so-called Dalit background sings Bhim Songs as well as commercial songs in mainstream films too. He is trained in classical music under the guidance of his Guru Pandit Suresh Wadkar. Will these neo-Ambedkarites abandon him too, for following the traditions of a so-called Brahminical art of classical music?
Lata Mangeshkar proudly wore her Hindu identity on her sleeves time and again. If she was so much under the influence of the so-called fanatic Hindu song, then how did she go on to sing a song like “Hey Ishwar Ya Allah” in a film named ‘Pukaar’ composed by A. R. Rahman? It is possible only in a parallel universe in the imaginations of some sober-pretending woke Naxalite who claims himself to be the savior of the constitution, democracy, brotherhood, and whatnot. Moreover, Lata Mangeshkar had publicly expressed her respect towards Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar.
Namaskar.Bhartiya Samvidhan ke shilpkar aadarniya Bharat Ratna Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar ji ki jayanti par main unko vinamra abhivadan karti hun— Lata Mangeshkar (@mangeshkarlata) April 14, 2017
On Dr Ambedkar’s birth anniversary in 2017, she had put up a tweet remembering him and paying respects.