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” मिले सुर मेरा तुम्हारा , तो सुर बने हमारा ”

“Mile sur mera tumhara, toh sur bane hamara”

23 years ago Kailash Surendranath, son of that distinguished artist of our Industry, Surendranath during the 50’s and 60’s, conceptualised an idea of how to project the integrated nature of our diverse nation, by recording a moving and topical melody and bringing artists of great repute to sing along with it. The visuals were moving and binding - Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle, Bhim Sen Joshi and many of the prominent classical singers from all over the country came together in a show of solidarity and togetherness. The film shot at various locations all over the country was an amazing tribute not just of the versatile talent that we possessed, but also became a wonderful emblem of oneness. Film stars too were incorporated. Jitendra, Mithun Chakravarty and myself had held hands in unison at the Mehboob Studios in Bandra as we lip synched the opening lines of the melody. Today after many years the idea and the importance of that integration is revived by the same people. The song and its words are the same, but the circumstances in our country have changed. Along with the economic development that has been taking place there has also been other unknown and unseen factors that have been trying to disrupt the very fabric of our society, the very fabric of our great nation.

Today I have lent my own voice to the words that came from another 23 years ago. Today I stand alone as I extol the virtues of togetherness, today I stand inside the very heart of the edifice that bore the cruel brunt of dastardly attack on our pride on our independence. Today I sing to the nation from the Taj Hotel at the Gate Way of India, built to welcome and commemorate the arrival of a sovereign on to our land, a land that he had occupied and ruled over for over 200 years - a Gate Way that ironically became the landing point of a group of terrorists, out to ravage and spread violence and shock into the heart of this great city of Mumbai.

The main Hotel area that had been substantially destroyed through fire and explosion is still not in operation as it undergoes repair and renovation, but the adjoining wing of the Hotel is, as is the Chambers, a select area for members and through which many of the terrorists surreptitiously made their way in. The area around the Hotel and inside now sanitized through security procedures is conscious of the systems needed to be deployed for any future probability, the staff, particularly the General Manager, who lost his entire family in the carnage is pleasant and friendly and I must say extremely brave to be pushing everything back to normalcy. But it is sad to see public facilities now almost defaced with equipment that promise security and precaution.

Against this backdrop and within the portals of a region that had been filled forcibly by evil design, I sing and contemplate -

Mile sur mera tumhara, toh sur bane hamara -

When the tone and notes of yours and mine shall mingle, then shall the tone become ours …

We may be a diverse nation, but when with resolve we stand together, speak together, sing together, hold hands and remain together, we shall overcome any and every obstacle that an intruder may wish to inflict upon us. So help me God !!

With love and compassion … and resolve

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