Itanagar, Arunachal Pradesh: Ninety five year old Smt Leela Devi, mother of martyr Jaswant Singh Rawat, the brave soldier of 1962 Indo-China War, saluted her own martyr son in a grand rally at IG Park in Itanagar on November 24 along with the State Chief Minister Nabam Tuki, in the concluding day celebration of three day mega event ‘Sarhad Ko Swaranjali’. The unique celebration was organised by Sanskar Bharati to commemorate the completion of 50 years of Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar’s eternal song Aye mere watan ke logon…, a song which had become a landmark event in the patriotic history of modern India which helped to fill the emotional hazards followed by the tragic consequences of the 1962 War.
Along with Smt. Leela Devi, the mothers of Kirti Chakra Shaheed NK Tape Yajo and Shaheed Patey Tassuk and the brother of Shaheed Tagom Taki also offered homage to their martyred kin in presence of tens of thousands emotional gathering from the whole North-east India. Bollywood star ‘Shaktimaan’ fame Mukesh Khanna, Lt. Gen. VM Patil, who was posted in Arunachal during 1962 War, Padmashree Bini Yanga, eminent social worker, Padmashree G Gourkishor Sharma, the awardee of this year’s ‘Poorvasha Sadhak Samman’ for promoting Manipuri Thang-ta martial art, Shri Kipa Babu, Deputy Chairman, Itanagar Municipal Corporation, senior RSS Pracharak Shri Indresh Kumar and many other dignitaries were present on the occasion.
Participating in the occasion the Chief Minister Tuki shared his emotions with the families of the martyrs who had sacrificed their loving ones for the highest cause of motherland. Shri Tuki congratulated Sanskar Bharati Poorvottar for organising such a marvelous and valuable programme which is the first of its own kind to falicitate the martyrs’ families in Arunachal. He promised to build a memorial in the name of thousands of martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the protection of our motherland.
Bollywood star Mukesh Khanna was the most hit among thousands of school students who listened to him with jubilation and cheers when he repeated his dialogue of Bheeshma Pitamah from the famous Mahabharata TV serial that it is the duty of every countrymen to protect the national boundary. He also heartily praised the martyrs’ mothers for giving birth to such heroic sons who sacrificed their lives for protecting our motherland. He asked the children to love their motherland and learn from the sacrifices made by the martyrs for the cause of the nation. “India witnessed only a few wars and perhaps that is the reason why we lack deshbhakti (patriotism),” Khanna said.
The most significant part of the cultural programmes was the performance mega dance performance by 320 school children of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Pasighat, directed by Delong Padung. The IG Park ground was thrilled when 10,000 students and the delegates sang in chorus Lataji’s eternal Aye mere watan ke logon. Mementos with Lataji’s message and signature were presented to the martyrs’ families and artists of national and international level. The evening air was warmed up with the Bharatmata ki arati by Baba Satya Narayan Maurya.
In a separate significant development, Arunachal State Governor General Nirbhay Sharma felicitated Smt. Leela Devi and other martyred families at the Raj Bhawan premises. The Itanagar Municipal Corporation declared Smt. Leela Devi as official guest of the Corporation
On November 23, the celebration was witnessed among others by the Agro-Horti Minister Setong Sena, who welcomed the internationally famous Dhrupad singers Dagar Brothers – Ustad Naf eesuddin Dagar and Naf eesuddin Dagar. The Dagar Brothers with their melodious voices and classic melodies won the hearts of thousands. In his speech, Sena said that the 1962 Indo-China War was a turning point for not only Arunachal but also for the whole India. He asked the audience to be truly dutiful to the motherland taking inspirations from the martyrs of the historical war. The day long programme, which began with devotional prayer rituals and songs of major tribes of the North-east region, featured demonstration of innumerable cultural items.
The sunrise at IG Park saw the marvelous performance of shehnai by Ustad Sohel Ahmad from Patna. The midday audience heard with rapt attention the performance of eminent Hindusthani classical artist Dr Nagraj Rao Havaldar from Bengaluru, while the flute performances of Pt Chetan Joshi of Delhi and Santosh Kumar of Benaras left the audience spellbound. Cultural group dances like Bhutia, Pashimi, Lepcha from Sikkim, Changgluizaln and Cheraw from Mizoram, Lai-Haraoba, Dhol Cholom and Basant Raas from Manipur, Sang-Su-Sin from Meghalaya, Naga Dance, Bihu and Sattriya from Assam, including different Janjati dances from Arunachal throughout the day and night summed up the mega event.
Among others who spoke during the day was VHP international organising secretary Dinesh Chand, who emphasised on the role of culture in protecting national integrity. The climax of the event was renowned portrait maker Vasudeo Kamath’s portrait of Shaheed Jaswant Singh. Among others, Baba Yogendra, founder of Sanskar Bharati, Shaheed NK Tape Yajo’s family from Aalo, Biren Baruah, who was posted at Tawang during the 1962 War, industries secretary Surendra Gangotra and eminent persons in the field of art and culture from North-east were present.
The mega event was inaugurated with much pump and show with the august presence of Rajesh Tacho, Minister, UD and Fisheries, Kipa Babu, Deputy Chairman, Itanagar Municipal Corporation, Surendra Gangotra, IAS, Secretary Industrial development and Taba Hare, Member Secretary, Sanskar Bharati North-east. Thousands of delegates including cultural troops from across the nation participating in this grand event.
Minister Tacho, attending the inaugural programme reminded before the audience how this ever hit song Aye mere watan ke logon has become the heartbeat of millions while Gangotra emphasised the role of patriotic songs in nation building. The song competition for Aye mere watan ke logon was held with participants attending from eight northeastern states including Sikkim. The district level competitions of the same song led to State level winners that ultimately culminated into the ‘All Winner’s Competition’. In total 30 competitors had participated in the final.