New Delhi Correspondent
As India and rest of the world celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of the apostle of peace Mahatma Gandhi on Tuesday, his favourite devotional song ‘Vaishnava Jan To’ has gone global with artists from over 124 countries having contributed musically in paying homage to him through the number.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday launched a medley version of the famous song by artists from over 40 countries during the closing ceremony of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Conference, a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) statement said. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti and other eminent personalities were present on the occasion.
The famous Gujarati song was penned by the 15th century poet Narsimha Mehta and was one of the favourite ‘bhajans’ of Mahatma Gandhi who included it into the roster of prayers routinely sung before his meetings.
All Indian diplomatic missions abroad identified local artists or a group to record the ‘bhajan’ in the run-up to the Gandhi Jayanti. The result is an eclectic, colourful and rich rendition of the hymn infused with the local flavour of the region.
“From Armenia to Angola, Sri Lanka to Serbia, Iraq to Iceland, prominent local singers/groups have showcased their talent to this favourite hymn of the Mahatma. 1-2 videos from different regions of the world were then put together in a fusion video of about 5 minutes to give a flavour of the bhajan as recorded by different artists,” the External Affairs Ministry said.
Among the star performers of the song was President Baron Divavesi Waqa of Nauru, a tiny island country north east of Australia, whose . gesture was not just a special tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th birth anniversary but was also a personal gift from him to Narendra Modi.
The medley version, as well as the individual country contributions are available on the External Affairs Ministry’s Youtube page.