Lata Mangeshkar's appeal to elect good people

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 05 February 1998 13:34 IST

"Do not get involved in linguistics and other petty local squabbles at this stage. Think of national situation and elect good people to rule us". The appeal has been made by nightingale of India Lata Mangeshkar.

A Goan by origin, Mangeshkar is presently in the tourist state along with her sisters Usha and Meena and brother Hridaynath. Her public appeal came as a spontaneous reaction to what Goa’s top politicians were exhibiting on the public platform, at a function in the city today, where she laid a foundation stone for the Marathi Bhavan.

It all began when union law minister Ramakant Khalap started accusing the then Congress MLAs, in the presence of Congress chief minister Pratapsing Rane, for half-heartedly supporting the issue of making Marathi the official language along with Konkani in 1986.

"I don’t agree with this Konkani-Marathi controversy. Goans speak Konkani and it’s a language of Goa. Don’t fight over it", she appealed to the politicians sitting on the dais. She seemed quite upset with the way the linguistic issue got a political overtone at the function.

She also appealed to the gathering not to get involved in such controversies but realise the real issue before the country today. "Considering the Indian situation today, the real issue is whom to elect to rule us. May be because I am a singer I do not understand why people get involved in such issues", she said.

Though she got a thundering applause from the overpacked hall, politicians were not in a mood to listen to her advise. Chief minister Pratapsing Rane, who spoke after her, charged that the union law minister for drafting the language bill, which was ultimately passed by the Goa Assembly. Khalap once again got up and denied it.

Since its liberation, Goa’s politics is moving around the language controversy, where people are divided over the issue of whether Konkani or Marathi is the language of Goans. The official language bill, which was passed following a state-wide violent agitation, grants status of official language to Konkani while Marathi has been permitted to be used for all officials purposes.

Politicians still provoke the voters, taking advantage of the game of words used in the official language act, though both languages are literally granted status of official language.

Meanwhile, Lata Mangeshkar, along with her brother Hridaynath, will be felicitated by Goans on Saturday here. The felicitation has a greater significance as it is the first "people’s function" she is wholeheartedly attending.

In the past, she had expressed reservations about Goans since her father Dinanath was more humiliated rather than helping him in their difficult times by the people of her native place of Mangeshi as well as other Goans, in Mumbai, during her childhood.

While Hridaynath was the first one to break this deadlock few years ago, she has now announced a donation of Rs one lakh for the Bhavan, on behalf of Dinanath Mangeshkar Trust.

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