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Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon... 

Vivek Shukla, e24bollywood.com


New Delhi- When you talk about songs filled with nationalistic fervour, you would remember the great songs wrote by Kavi Pradeep. His absolutely outstanding song Aye Mere Watan ke logon was, written as tribute to the soldiers who had died defending the country during the Indo-china war. The song was famously performed live by Lata Mangeshkar in the presence of Pt. Nehru at the Ramlila grounds, New Delhi, on Republic Day, 26 January 1963.


Pt Nehru was so moved to hear the song that tears started rolling down from his eyes. Kavi Pradeep pledged the royalties of the song to War Widows Fund and on 25 August 2005, Bombay High court ordered, Saregama (HMV) to pay Rs10 lakh as arrears in royalty due to the Fund. 


His first recognition, for his patriotic song, in film Bandhan (1940), though it was for writing a daringly patriotic song, Door Haaton aye Duniya walon (Move Away O Outsiders), in India's first golden jubilee hit, Kismet (1943), that his status as nationalistic writer got immortalized.  


In a career span, of nearly five decades, Kavi Pradeep, wrote about 1,700 songs nationalistic poems including the lyrics for some 72 films, including hits like, Chal Chal Re Naujawan, film Bandhan (1940), Aao Bachchon Tumhe Dikhayen, film Jagriti (1954), De Di Hame Azaadi Bina Khadag Bina Dhaal, and Yahaan vahaan jahaan tahaan mat poochho kahaan kahaan, film Jai Santoshi Ma (1975) for which he also did a playback version in the film. In 1958, HMV released an album comprising of 13 songs with his lyrics, soon he was made the Rashtrakavi, (Poet Laureate), and came to be known as, Kavi Pradeep. In 1997, he was honoured by India's highest award in Cinema, the Dada Saheb Phalke Award. 


Kismet was his groundbreaking effort since it came at the time of the "Quit India" movement. The country was in strife with all national leaders in Jail. He cleverly wrote Aj Himalay ki choti se phir hamne lalkara hai...door hato ae duniyawalon Hindustan hamara hai. The song was supposed to warn the Axis powers, but the Indian public understood the real meaning of the song. Theatres around the country were resounded with "once more" calls once the song ended. The reel had to be rewound and the song was screened again and again. Kismet made Box Office history for its time by running for 3-1/2 years in one theatre.  


He continued his patriotic zeal with renewed vigor after Independence in movies such as Jagriti, ‘Dedi humein azadi bina khadak bina dhal, Sabarmati ke sant tune kar diya kamal...' is considered to be his tribute to Bapu. 


During 1962 (Indo-China) war days, he heard about Param Vir Major Shaitan Singh Bhati. He was so touched by his sacrifice and bravery that he penned down the lines 'Aye Mere Watan Ke Logon' (translation: O people of my country). This song was originally supposed to be sung by Asha Bhosle, due to a misunderstanding between composer C Ramchandra and Lata Mangeshkar. Kavi Pradeep though, was adamant about having Lata Mangeshkar sing the song, as he felt that hers was the only voice that could do justice to the number. C Ramchandra was unsure whether Mangeshkar would agree to sing, so Kavi Pradeep began the task of convincing her to hear the song.


On hearing the song she was moved so much that she instantly agreed to sing the song, on condition that Kavi Pradeep be present at the rehearsals. 


Aye Mere Watan Ke Logo went on to become one of the greatest patriotic songs of the country. It was while listening to Lata Mangeshkar’s rendition of Ae Mere Watan Ke Logo that the then Prime Minister of India - Pt Nehru was moved to tears. For writing the song he was conferred the honour of "Rashtriya Kavi" (National Poet) by the Government Of India.