Happy Republic Day 2023: Kavi Pradeep-C Ramchandra, Duo Behind Lata Mangeshkar’s Soulful ‘Ae Mere Watan ke Logon’
Happy Republic Day 2023: Known to have moved the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to tears, the soulful Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon is regarded as one of the most favorite patriotic songs. India has used the iconic song at several national events since it was first performed live by legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar on Republic Day in 1963. Simply translated to ‘O People of My Land’ (Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon), the song was a tribute to the fallen soldiers of the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and was performed only two months later.
Written by national poet Kavi Pradeep and composed by C Ramchandra, this song has stood the test of time. It replaced Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite Christian hymn Abide With Me at the Beating Retreat ceremony on January 29 last year. Just as the bhajan was played at the end of the ceremony, this patriotic raag will also be played at the same time.
Happy Republic Day 2023
The decision to drop the equally prestigious Abide with Me is being seen as part of an effort to “Indianise” the army, including its tunes, training literature, traditions, customs and other practices, among which Some were taken from the British period.
1 Pradeep, the ‘national poet’ and master of patriotic songs
2C Ramachandra, the unsung hero and Taal Raja
Pradeep, the ‘nation poet’ and master of patriotic songs
In 1962, the public was deeply hurt by the damage China had done to India. The devastation and deaths also took a heavy toll on Pradeep, who then wrote Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon. While eminent personalities – the then President S. Radhakrishnan and Nehru – were present along with other Hindi film industry stalwarts, Pradeep was not invited for the first live performance of the song.
Born Ramchandra Narayanji Dwivedi on February 6, 1915, near Ujjain, Pradeep displayed his talent as a patriotic writer from his early days and wrote around 1,700 poems and songs for 72 films. The poet, who was a teacher, let his pen speak for him even though his lyrics were censored by the British. He kept his surname as Pradeep.
Happy Republic Day 2023
However, Pradeep was first noticed after the patriotic song Chal Chal Re Naujawan from Bandhan (1940) became widely popular. But three years later, the song Door Hato Ae Duniyawalon Ne brought him national fame.
As far back as his magnum opus Aye Mere Watan…, it was producer Mehboob Khan who approached the poet to write an opening song for a fundraiser, to which he agreed. As per a report, once the song was ready, he took Mangeshkar and Ramchandra
“Nobody can make you a patriot. It’s in your blood. The way you bring it out to serve the country is what sets you apart.”
Before his death in December 1998, the beloved poet was honored with the 1997 Dadasaheb Phalke Award.
C Ramachandra, the unsung hero and the rhythm king
Very few people know C Ramachandra as the composer of Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon, after making over 100 films in the 40s, 50s and 60s. The eminent Bollywood composer was known for his songs with Mangeshkar, so it was natural for Pradeep to approach him for the composition.
Ramchandra and Mangeshkar are best known for their duets Kitna Haseen Hai Mausam in Azaad (1955) and Shola Jo Bhadke in Albela (1951). Best known for his career-defining album Anarkali (1953), Ramachandra was also an occasional playback singer in addition to being a full-time music director.
Born in 1918 in Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra, Nahar Chitalkar trained in classical music under Pandit Vinayakrao Patwardhan of the famous Gandharva Mahavidyalaya and later under Pandit Shankarrao Sapre.
He was known for being experimental in his approach to music, introducing a “jazzy” touch with the use of alto saxophone in combination with guitar, harmonica and clarinet. He was influenced by the American jazz clarinetist Benny Goodman. Ramachandra used a combination of ragas but his favorite was Bageshree because of its “simplicity”.