[Interviewer: SHRI RAM SHAW]
[Anup Jalota is a renowned Indian singer. He is best known for the soulful devotional songs and ghazals he has sung over decades. A winner of Padmashri Award, Jalota has made his voice indispensable in any Hindu religious ceremony not only inside India but also across the world. Shri Ram Shaw had an exclusive interview with singer Jalota. Presented herewith are the excerpts of their conversations.]
You received the invitation for the consecration of Ram-Lala that took place at Ayodhya recently. Please share your experiences.
The invitation for Pran-Pratishtha was undoubtedly a matter of great pride and honour for me. Maryada Purushottam Lord Shri Ram gave the message of social harmony and empowerment through his life itself. The water and soil brought to Ayodhya from holy rivers and pilgrimage sites across the country to be part of the foundation stone and consecration ceremony of the temple at the birthplace of Shri Ram showcase the unity of entire India. It will always inspire and orient the people to maintain and celebrate cultural nationalism, integral humanism, national unity, territorial integrity of the nation.
What is the significance of Ram Temple in Ayodhya in your eyes?
Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Temple in Ayodhya will be a unique centre of social harmony. It will showcase the unity of entire Bharatvarsh and will always excite, inspire and orient the people to preserve and celebrate the country’s cultural nationalism, integral humanism, and national unity. The speed at which our country is progressing today, the respect our country is getting all over the world, the big countries today recognizing India’s prowess, we have to take it further. According to the farsightedness of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, we all have to take India to the top of all-round development. This is the collective responsibility of all of us. Today our country is in a position from where it is not too late for it to become a world leader and Modi ji and Yogi ji are undoubtedly working tirelessly in this direction. They are doing commendable work. They are truly Yugpurush because they are not doing anything for themselves. They have dedicated themselves for the society and the country.
Recently you met UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. Tell us briefly about the context and outcome of this meeting.
I want to tell with great pride that Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ji has made Uttar Pradesh a safe state. I had come to pay my respects to Yogiji. In a state where girls were afraid to go out of the house in the evening, business people were afraid to do their business, today a person who is both a religious guru and has proved himself a political guru has made people’s lives easier. Today people are roaming freely without any fear and are also doing their business without any fear. When I went to him, the first thing that I did was I congratulated him for making Uttar Pradesh a great state (Uttam Pradesh). He has also given me some orders to organize programs on all the rivers and ghats we have…The government is with you. We have already started this. We have done a program in Gorakhpur. It is Yogi ji’s desire to bring forward the talents of villages, districts and cities which are still hidden and which have not received any support. We have an organization named Omkaram. Yogi ji also liked this name very much. Praising this name, he said that through this Omkaram, you should organize programs at all the ghats.
We have selected six artists from Gorakhpur. We are presenting them. We have also selected artists from Lucknow, Varanasi and Agra. We will give space to all these artists on the stage with us. At the same time, some old temples which should be renovated today, which should be given a beautiful look again – Yogi ji has also given us these orders. I want to thank him from the bottom of my heart that he considered us worthy of this and has given this work to our organization ‘Omkaram’. I will try my best to live up to his expectations.
You had come to New Delhi recently. You were seated in the front row at Bharat Mandapam, but due to security reasons I could not meet you. I would call it my bad luck. Everyone here in Delhi is once again eagerly waiting for your arrival. When you are coming to Delhi again?
I have to come to Delhi soon and meet everyone. Actually, Honorable Modi ji and Shri Piyush Goyal ji have been very kind to me. Shri Piyush Goyal ji is a resident of Mumbai. We have a very old family friendship with him. We and Goyal ji together work towards the royalty that artists should get and provide royalty to seniors. Piyush ji has helped us a lot for this.
It is the result of Yogi ji’s policies and efforts that this time there was relatively less damage to life, property, trees, plants and nurseries in the flood. What are your thoughts on this?
No matter how much man does, nature is much stronger than him. Sometimes such a disaster occurs that men’s knowledge and system fails. The most powerful nature is God. When such a disaster occurs, like Corona just happened, then what anyone can do? This epidemic engulfed the entire world. The whole world came to a standstill. One should not be afraid of such difficulties because we are forced to face them again and again.
Government policies sometimes work and sometimes fail. But due to the policies of Yogi ji, this time there was relatively less damage in the flood.
Sometimes a person has to suffer loss in things that are not in his hands. The policies of the government and the work being done are becoming so good that today people in every household know how they are getting help and security from the government. Anti-social elements are no longer visible, they are sitting lurking. For all these things we consider Yogi ji a very successful Chief Minister. The effect of CM Yogi’s review meeting before the monsoon became active in the state was visible. Due to Yogi ji’s monitoring, there was a lesser loss of life in the flood affected districts this year.
Nowadays, the very word Sanatan has become the talk of the town. Your thoughts on this…
I want to explain this with an example. It is like this… There was a lion and he was sleeping, so it was not discussed. But, as soon as he woke up, he was being discussed. The eternal lion has now awakened, so there will be a lot of discussion about it. Now people just keep watching its roar and its echo will be heard all over the world. There is only one religion that is “Sanatan Dharma”. All the rest are sects and methods of worship. Sanatan Dharma is the religion of humanity. If Sanatan Dharma is attacked then the humanity of the world will be in danger.
Two famous lines of yours with Lata Mangeshkar ji – “Solah baras ki bali umar ko salaam” became immortal. Please share your experiences. Throw some light on the context of the composition of the two lines of this song and the background behind it becoming a classic.
I had to meet Lata ji, I had some work with her. He called me and asked to come to Mehboob studio…I am recording a song there, you come there, we will meet. I reached there. Her recording had started. Laxmikant Pyarelal was its composer. I met him and whatever I had to talk to him, I did it. When I was about to leave, Laxmikant Pyarelal ji stopped me. He said that if you have come, please sit for a while, drink tea, this song will be done in half an hour… so I sat down. Lataji recorded her song and went away. I met her again, said hello and she left. After this, we were sitting and drinking tea with Laxmikant Pyarelal ji. In a loving, complaining tone, he told me that I have to make you sing songs, but you don’t meet me. I said that I am very busy with my programs, otherwise I would definitely come and meet you. Then he said that since you have come, let us add two lines to it, you sing them. I said okay and we recorded two lines immediately and that song became a super-hit.
“Koshish karke dekh le, dariya sare, nadiya sari/ Dil ki lagi nahi bujhti, bujhti hai har chingari”… So was there no need for you to rehearse for this?
Nothing much…just rehearsed there for 5-10 minutes and sang. After this, Laxmikant Pyarelal ji called several times and I also went…to record some songs. Then I politely told him that since I am busy in programs, I cannot do more. This was my life…this is its story.
You recorded a special song “Sai Baba Bolo” from Manoj Kumar ji’s movie “Shirdi Ke Sai Baba” with Mohammad Rafi. The way you rendered the word “Bolo” in this song, it really goes straight to the heart. Share your memories about this.
I have been an ardent devotee of Sai Baba since childhood. There will surely be a difference between someone singing His acts and someone else singing it. With his blessings, people liked very much what I sang. Even today people are humming and singing this song. Rafi Sahab was very happy… there was no limit to my happiness too because that was my first meeting with Rafi Sahab. He praised me a lot and blessed me.
What would you like to say as a blessing to your listeners, fans, your exclusive fans?
I just want to say that the speed at which my country is progressing today, the respect our country is getting all over the world, big countries are considering India as a powerful nation, we should take it further. As per the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, we all have to work together and take India to the top of all-round development. This is the collective responsibility of all of us. Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made objectionable remarks regarding India and the way India responded to it is a reflection of our efficient diplomacy. Even the greatest powers can be subjugated by democratic values. Today our country is in a position from where it is not too late for it to become a world leader and Modi ji and Yogi ji are undoubtedly doing commendable work in this direction. I call them Ram and Lakshman. They are actually Yugpurush because they are not doing anything for themselves. They have dedicated themselves to the society and country.
Climate change, nature and pollution – remains a serious issue today. What would you like to say in this regard?
Love for nature is the basis of the future generation. Love of nature is also the path to attain God. Today I would like to appeal to the people that instead of sweets they are distributing, they should start distributing saplings, then greenery will increase in the world. Gift sweets along with a sapling. One example of this can be seen from the fact that when I met Chief Minister Yogi ji, he gifted me a sapling.