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The Evening Pandit Nehru cried

By Pravin B Dave

Lata Mangeshkar singing Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon.

Lata Mangeshkar singing Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Chinese aggression on India’s border in NEFA and Ladakh. It also reminds us of the period when “watan ki aabroo khatre’ me’ hai” ; “aawaz do hum ek hai” ; “aapni azadi ko hum mita sakte’ nahi” ; ” kar chale’ hum fida jaan aur tun” , all by the patriot of all patriots – our great Sahab, and “ai mere watan ke logo” by Lataji.
For the very first time in 1962 I watched my idol Rafi S’ab and the Concert at the National Stadium, New Delhi, through a pair of powerful binoculars. A whole string of stars, singers and the Cine Musicians’ Orchestra were flown out from Mumbai.

Penned by Kavi Pradeep, composed by maestro C. Ramchandra, “ai mere watan ke logo” was for the first time ever rendered by Lataji that evening. This is the number that even now evokes patriotism and is Lataji’s one of the best. It is said that the number was for Aashaji to sing in front of the dignitories and thousands of audience. That did not happen. There is no evidence to show that Aashaji’s assignment was ‘stolen’.

Here comes my own personal view.

The Concert aforesaid was organised to augment National Defence Fund and apart from VVIPS was attended by a broken, emotionally drained Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The Chinese “brothers” had betrayed him by killing the ill-equipped Indian soldiers, grabbing Indian land. His Defence Minister Krishna Menon had misled him, let him down. Soldiers were retreating against the suicidal Chinese; the top Commander in the area was labelled as incompetent. In short, Panditji was in deep trouble.

Lata Mangeshkar singing Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon.

Lata Mangeshkar singing Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon.

Yes, Panditji probably cried that evening but for a different reason! Not due to the effect of the rendition, however touching. In all probability his mind was far from the Concert that Evening.

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32 Blog Comments to “The Evening Pandit Nehru cried”

  1. MAJAZ MUNGERI says:


  2. Raj Tiwari says:

    Hamne Tansen ko kabhi dekha na unki awaaz hi suni par shayad Rafi Sahab na hote to Baiju Bawra jaisi Film ki kalpana karna bhi bemani hota “O DUNIYA KE RAKHWALE SUN DAED BHARE MERE NAALE” Shayad khud Tansen bhi ya Baiju bhi gate to bhi nahi lagta Rafi Sahab se behter gaa pate Rafi Sahab ko Sat Sat Pranaam

  3. Raj Tiwari says:

    Mohd.Rafi Duniya mein sirf ek hi baar janam lete hain Govt. of India ko uneh Bharat Rattan ki upadhi deni chahiye jisse ki unke fans ko khushi mil sake yahi sahi justice bhi hoga rafi sahab sarikhe kalakaar ke liye

  4. Harshal says:

    So you guys seem to know Nehru personally to decide what he cried for that evening!!! Clearly you have never been moved to tears by a song. I remember listening to this song for the first time when I was in school and I had tears in my eyes, so I don’t think its very unusual. And what’s the need to make such a hue and cry about not talking about the composer or lyricist? Surely you dont talk about the lyricist in the same breath as the singer when you quote songs like O Duniya Ke Rakhwale, or Chaudavin Ka Chand. It has always been the singer who takes the maximum credit in the public eye…even in today’s songs!!! So stop being childish.

  5. Qameruddin says:

    Dear freinds, I was and NRI at kuwait and had the oppertunity (wont call it a chance) to meet the legend. I had something From the legend which i am sure nobody wud hv had or has it. Yes when I met him on stage after the concert. I wanted his autograph which he very happily obliged. I had no paper and pen but the soveigner which was specially published for that evening. SO I borrowed an INK pen… incidentally it was leaking (thanks to the pen) and when Rafi sahab held the pen the ink was on his fingers.. He just smiled put his thumb impression on his pic and also the autograph. Un fortunately during the first Iraqi aression on kuwait.. I lost that album !!! which sadens me even today.. Freinds will c u soon in one of ur gatherings.

  6. Anand Agrawal says:

    We grew up listening to ” Awaz Do Hum Ek Hain” a gem from Rafi Saa’b. This song was almost played on our school address system every day during the recess throughout the sixties and early seventies. Unfortunately not many remember this song today as this is a non filmy number.

  7. Zafar Ahmad says:

    Rafi Sahib have become to 8th popular in the world musicians competition. Congratulation! Rafians cast maximum vote to rafi sahib for the world number one position.

  8. Rajeev says:

    Finally we have the following versions on this song’s controversy:

    1. By Raju Bharatan: This song was originally written as a duet for Asha and Lata. However,Pradeep ji claims that Lata came to him and asked to sing this song alone on the stage. C Ramchnadra said he had Air tickets of both Asha and Lata with him. Asha told him,” you know that didi will not allow me to come to Delhi for singing this song.” Later, Asha asked C Ramchnadra to cancel her ticket to Delhi.

    2. By C Ramachandran: It was Asha first, then it became duet. Then during rehearsal, Lata said loudly to Asha,” Asha,why do not you tell Ram that you are not well and that you can not come to Delhi ?” Asha called C Ramachandran outside the room and said ” Anna, Lata does not seem to want me to sing this song. I will not come to Delhi.”

    3. By Lata: We know!!!

  9. Ahamed Kutty says:

    the living legends’ popularity is fading gradually.the singer
    who left us 32 years back is still shining like a sun.the
    famous tamil singer sri t.m.sounder rajan who can give
    separate styles in singing for m.g.r. and shivaji ganeshan
    recently attended for a function but the audience could
    not recognize him.

    as far as rafi saab is concerned,his photo is enough to
    recognize by common man.i believe he is the cause of
    the popularity of his arch rival (if so) since the jealousy
    to rafi saab leads to make that singer popular even though
    his abilities as a singer and voice quality is very poor and
    that singer will be faded away like the website on his name.

    we could come to know the standard of ‘filmfare awards’ by
    selecting a song like ‘oh kaike paan ban raswala’ for the
    best singer award.

  10. Binu Nair says:

    Birendra ji…

    mohd rafi saaheb has the biggest following in india amongst many professions .

    he was voted to eleventh position in a recent poll but was pushed out due to manipulations by a socalled ‘jury’ who brought in another singer much ahead in the list.

    she gave an interview to cnn ibn last week.

    further, many awards can be bought. today, filmfare sells at rs.ten at churchgate station – any day. previously, filmfare awards were prestigeious. now no more.

    some good work along with political patronage will get you most of the awards. also muscle power counts along with financial mite.

    mohd rafi saaheb was ‘away’ from all these so he remains in people’s memory solely due to his art.

    the rascals will not give him any award as when the issue of bharat ratna came up few years back, the names of charan singh, jagjivan ram, mayawati’s kanshiram and many names cropped up.

    so, the govt made it clear that b r awards will ‘not’ be given posthumously.

    mohd rafi saaheb remains in the heart of millions of people and that’s the true award which he truly got.

    rafi saaheb would not have craved for any awards so let’s all think like him.

    and lastly never trust these politicians whose ambition in life – is to divide the people, gain the moolah (s) and in free time – run to the swiss banks or smaller banks of their territories.

    the newspapers headlines thier greed every mornings – without fail.

  11. please read no match instead of not match.

  12. Dear Binu Sir, I am sorry if I was off track. Actually the article started with 50th anniversary of Indo China war. Since I have a great regard for Indian army and wanted to be a part of it but couldn’t succeed. But my passion is still alive and I have read enough about the war hence I couldn’t control my feelings and expressed them thru few words. I have no solid defense background but yes my father and uncles were in the Indian army. Also I belonged from Uttarakand where joining the army is a tradition and passion. Two renowned regiment of the Indian army ‘The Garhwal Rifles and Kumaon Regiment are from Uttrakahnd. Binu Sir I am also a great fan of our beloved rafi saab. Rafi saab is the only singer who has sung all kind of songs much much more than any other singer. Not match with rafi saab. It is my personal view that rafi saab is a victim of dirty politics of bollywood industry otherwise rafi saab would have been the first singer who had been conferred the ‘Bharat Ratna’ which we all rafians are still waiting. I also know that rafi saab is much more above the ‘Bharat Ratna’ but it is our expectations that should be full filled. Is anyone listening??? Long live rafi saab. Regards, Birendra Singh Bisht

  13. santosh says:

    i find this article irrelevant in the context of mohd rafi.What is the author wanting to say here.Nothing to do with rafi saab.Why has he written this.Really we start debating things irrelevant to this web site.What nehru did and did not can be discussed on another platform.Why why here

  14. Binu Nair says:

    I am fully with you Birendra ji…. by your passion and name i am supposing that you have a very solid defence background.

    I share your passion for the country and the defences. no two points on this.

    pls do tell us : whom to trust dear birendra amidst these lecherous and corrupt men who govern us. the political parties want to make vote banks and we are sucked in to their whirlpool – unwittingly.

    every other day, a skeleton is falling from their scandal ridden cupboards without their wishes.

    our people are illiterate and democracy is expensive and failing us.

    but, why are we discussing politics in the mohd rafi saaheb columns. but, rafi saaheb would have cried and shed a tear – today seeing the plight and behaviour of our politicians and singers who worked with him.

    they have made the ‘moolahs’ but decency and morals have not touched them. lies, slanders and short-cuts are their pass times.

    many of us know it in details.

    we live in a sad era with rafi saaheb songs to cheer and despair too as per the moods.

    long live rafi saaheb and his great ideals and his concept of humanism for a change from withing us.


    from the rafi foundation.



  16. India paid heavy price due to Nehruji’s overwhelming trust on china. If Nehru ji would have followed the advice given by great leader Sardar ballabh bhai patel and Gen K M Karriappa we were never beaten by china. Nehru ji wanted to become an international leader and had a thinking of no use of arms but go for non violence way. His thought was if India can get the freedom by gandhiji non violence movement so what is the use of defence forces? So he never took the advice seriously given by the country’s well wishers and never paid attention on the modernization of defence forces and development of the border areas. Current situation is also not so good. We are lagging behind from china in every sphere. Today our borders are not safe even after 50 years of the war.
    We are surrounded by China from all corners. I want to appeal country’s each and every political party, please leave playing dirty politics and join hands together for country’s prosperity and moderation of our defence forces. Also pay attention on the development of all border states. Don’t cut defence budget. Make your strong political and business relationship with all your neighboring countries and the whole world so that our India become a super power country not on papers only but in real. If it is not happen soon India will always be in danger and may humiliated again in future by our most rival not trust worthy country i.e. china, it is sure. Regarding patriotic songs. rafi saab is the only singer who had sung most of the patriotic songs and all were superhit. few are watan ki raah me watan ke naujawan shaheed hon, kar chale hum fida jano tan saathion, watan pe jo fida hoga, amar vo naujawan hoga, apni azadi ko hum hargij mita sakte nahi, aye watan aye watan hum ko teri kasam, hindustan ki kasam na jhukega sar watan har jawan ki kasam, ye desh hai veer jawano ka, hum laye tufaan se kisthi nikal ke and jahan dal dal par sone ki chidiya and many more… these all are immortal songs and every coming generation will listen these songs on the occasions of independence day,republic day… i am not degrading the other songs sung by mahendra kapoor saab,manna dey saab…. a patriotic song is a patriotic song and doesn’t matter who sang it. But songs sung by legend rafi saab… massha alla… Long live India Long live rafi saab.

  17. Andrea Correa says:

    Very true feelings expressed audrey saaheb.

    the tide is turning and mohd rafi songs are played all over. but the tragedy is many male singers are forgotten . talat saaheb, saigal ji, hemanta da songs are not played much and therefore not listened too….

    their children are partly to blame for this as they demand payments for attending a concert of their parents. One son from the above asked lakhs of rupees to sing but the problem is he is fully besurra. he also does’nt like or relish good singers singing his fathers tunes.

    its shameful and disappointing since they got the ‘cream of life’ from their illustrious parents – but now they cant do things to illuminate their works.

    another sad part is that they – sang – the praises of their parents their full life and now left with no jobs or occupations… The generation has failed their legend parents in 9 out of 10 cases.

    now, their main occupation is to fight for the proprty rights – if anything worthwhile remain.

    but, golden era music will remain as today songs or music have no takers.

    and mohd rafi saaheb works of 40 years will always remain as the treasures of our golden era.

  18. Audrey Hatia says:

    Miss Andrea Corea , it sounds very true that the major reason for Panditji getting emotional was the situation in which he was already in a depresed mood because of the results of the China war. The song ‘Ae mere watan ke logo’ has such soulful lyrics written by kavi Pradeepji and its music composition a master piece by C.Ramchandra. Undoubtedly Lataji’s voice added to the beauty of the song.But unfortunately the writer and the director of the song are hardly remembered, while Lataji cashed on the history it created.Recently there was a programme on the doordarshan giving tribute to Pradeepji in which he said that he was well aware of the fact that the sadest person in the country at the time when he wrote the song was the Prime minister of India.He was aware of the mental state of Panditji when he wrote ‘Ae mere watan ke logo tum khoob laga lo nara , ye shubh din hai hum sabka ,lehralo tiranga pyara, and then ‘par mat bhulo seema par jinhon ne jaan gawanyi,kuch yaad unhe ….. .’ I salute Kavi Prdeepji for this poetry and many other wonderful poetries written by by him. I remember one more song written by Pradeepji and sung by Rafisaab.’Hum laaye hai tufaanse kashti nikaalke….’. A song soaked with patriotism.I am a regular visitor of this website and a great fan of Rafi Sahab.Any musical programme, no mater whether it be on radio or Tv is incomplete without his songs.When I listen to the radio I keep waiting for his solo songs.And if they dont appear then I feel it was a waste of time.How could the ‘Golden era’ be Golden without our dear Rafi sahab, a true legend.

  19. Ahamed Kutty says:

    the prestigious award “bhaarath ratna” had been conferred
    to few personalities other than lataji.but we are not worried
    about the weaknesses or wrong doings of others.since
    lataji’s dirty plays are famous we are thinking that such a
    personality was to be honourd with “bhaarat ratna”.

  20. Andrea Correa says:

    both of the sisters can ‘never’ come near to our mother teresa. Post 12.

    they monopolised playback singing and kept out singers like Mubarak begum, suman kalyanpur, vani jayram, krishna kalle, hemlata and may more – by a simple method.

    allegedly saying to composers, aap unko le lo jisko pehele liya hai meaning some of the above mentioned singers.

    “hamari kya jaroorat hai aapko”.

    So, the composers never took any risk with new singers then.

    kalyanji anandji brought in usha timothy, runa laila, nazia hassan and its reported that getting dates from the sister was not easy …..

    there are many such stories floating around and one most significant was the statement of bhupen hazarika’s wife who lashed out.

    yeh umar me bhajan gaakar baaki zindagi khuda ke pyaar me bitana chahiye aisa hamem seriously lagta hai.

  21. Ganesh says:

    that may be true but the younger one is no mother theresa…she is known for her own set of antics.

  22. Amina says:

    There is a movie featuring Shabana Azmi and Aruna Irani based on the relationship between Lata and Asha and how Lata always imposed her whims on Asha being the elder sister

  23. Andrea Correa says:

    raju bharatan an insider and a lata mangeshkar biographer has mentioned that Lata and asha – both were to sing the song…. verse by verse , but at the last moment asha bhosle herself backed out.

    people say it was due to lata mangeshkar not allowing asha to travel to delhi for the rendition.

    as told by raju bharatan in his biography titled Lata mangeshkar……

  24. r l arora says:

    Rafi Saab is just matchless. No one on this planet is comparable to the super-best Rafi Saab. He was not only the best singer but also by nature a gentle, polite, cultured person. He can also be called a saint.

    my salutes to Rafi Saab, an angel.

  25. kuloor ibrahim sharif says:

    jab tak chand, suraj, dharthi, aakash, samunder rahega tab tak Rafi sahab ki awaz is duniyame gunjthe he rahega – Mohd Rafi well wisher kuloor ibrahim sharif

  26. Rajeev says:

    This the most recent facts about this song: The song was composed by C Ramachandran and penned by kavi Pradeep. C Ramachandran and Lata had broken up by that time. So, obviously, C Ramachandran asked Asha to sing. They even rehearsed 6 times. When Lata came to know about it, she visited Pradeepji’s house and request him to give the song to her. Pradeepji told C Ramachandran. Upon hearing this C Ramachandran forgot about Asha (maybe he was still in love with Lata – but I would assume he rightly thought Lata can sing it better). I am not sure if it was intended as duet ever. Someone needs to read and translate C Ramachandran’s autobiography, if it sheds any light on this subject.

    Now, Lata, in her recent interview has claimed that it was a duet and she tried very hard to have Asha come to Delhi with her until the last minute. And that Asha refused. Only Ashaji can confirm this claim.

    Ashaji, please break your silence. Please set the history right. This may be against your one-point agenda of promoting only one music director (plus KK lately)

  27. EGK Menon says:

    True, Panditji was a shattered and very affected person after the chinese war. He might have got emotionally carried away and wept. Lata’s rendering and the lyrics of the song could have touched the great man’s sensitive mind. Rafi saab, no doubt, has rendered sweeter and more inspiring songs on the nation and her unity. Lata and Rafi saab are incomparably great and versatile as singers. The difference between them, perhaps, is that Rafi saab was as good an individual as his art, while it is impossible to qualify Lata in such iconic terms, identifying her superb artistry with her nature as a person… But let us not debunk the legend of Lata. They are both titans that trod the music scene, making the film songs most enjoyable in the golden times of romance and melody.

  28. SalRafi says:

    Andrea Correa, I wouldn’t have said it better. About IbnCNN legends show ads they show KK first, Lata 2nd Asha 3rd and Rafi Saab mere 4th or fifth with less importance. I wanted to write to them but find no avenue to do that. You know our biased media and its people. Very sad. About patriotic songs non is close to “karchale hum fiza” in content and rendition but it is hardly played during independence or republic day.

  29. Ahamed Kutty says:

    in my younger days when there was no tv we had the only
    entertainer the radio – the vividh bharathi & radio cylon.
    every sunday at 3 pm there was a programme called
    “jayamala” distinguished personalities favorite songs
    and discussions.almost all, first song used to be
    the evergreen patriotic song “kar chale hum
    fiza” sung by rafi saab.

  30. anil nakra says:

    intersting to know and may be real diffrent veiw, all nation including my self knows the pandit nehru become imotional during lisining the song”aao mere vatan ke logo”
    pandit nehru twisted his faliour by the sais concert
    thanks for true angle put before nation

  31. Andrea Correa says:

    There was a big story about lata mangeshkar recently – broadcasted by CNN – ibn rajdeep sardesai channel.

    months before, there was the voting system last august on the same channel : “Who is the greatest indian, ”

    IN the sms polls, nehru ji came tenth, mohd rafi – eleventh and indira gandhi – twelth, lata mangeshkar 21st, amitabh bachaan 42, so on and so on.

    but, after the poll results were declared, sardesai invented the Jury voting system and lata mangeshkar was pushed to nineth position . she still could not reach the first three.

    the channel then blocked the polling result.

    the connection and the favour was returned and there was this great interview of the great bharat ratna once more who allegedly has ruined the life of many composers and singers in the industry and who also told ‘white lies’ about mohd rafi that he gave her an apology letter vis-a-vis the royalty issue.

    kya miliye aise logon se ‘ jinki ‘ fitarat chuppi rahe, asli chehra saamne aaye, naqli surat chupi rahe…………………….

  32. Andrea Correa says:

    India was ‘indeed’ in a very bad position and whole of India cried. due to the chinese aggression.

    but some quarters say “Panditji cried on hearing lata mangeshkar’s song.”

    and, made a big capital out of it. these persons never say 2 things.

    who is the composer of the song and who is the famed lyricist. many also do not know that asha bhonsle would have sung one para and lata didi the next and so on.
    but, on the eleventh hour, asha bhonsle did’nt get permission from the elder sister to travel and sing with her. she called up c. ramchandra and expressed her inability to travel to delhi.

    lata herself boasted from different stages : Mera yeh geet logon ko bahut pasand hai. (note the word mera. it ought to be hamara yeh geet, but lata can’t be generous to anyone we know that)

    when the song ‘suno suno ai duniyawale’ was sung by rafi saaheb, the whole song was a rage being heard in every household and corners of the country.

    Pandit nehru cried as mahatma gandhi was murdered by right wingers and the nation was mourning.

    mohd rafi never had a bandwagon like the maharani – hence very few know how much the nation cried – when this song became the song of the nation.

    the writer must not hide his true feelings it’s rightly felt.

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