On the evening of Monday 27th January 2014, the NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate Shri Narendra Modi joined the Shreshtha Bharat programme to mark the completion of 51 years of the historic song, ‘Ae Mere Vatan Ke Logon.’ Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar ji, who sang the song in a historic gathering on this day in 1963 in the presence of the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was present on the occasion. Lata Didi also sung parts of the song and was greeted with a standing ovation by the audience. Former Chief of Army Staff, General VP Malik was present on the occasion.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Narendra Modi said that the song ‘Ae Mere Vatan Ke Logon’ has inspired generations and inspires our brave soldiers. He said that whenever we hear that song we are reminded of the bravery of our soldiers on the battlefield. “The words, the song can touch the hearts of the people,” he affirmed.
Shri Modi paid rich tributes to the brave armed forces of India, saying that whenever we see our soldiers today, we feel extremely proud of them. “Society worships the brave and remembers their bravery. We get inspired by them. A soldier is always proud that his is a life in service of the nation,” pointed Shri Modi.
In his speech, Shri Modi asked why after so many years of Independence our nation still does not have a war memorial to commemorate the bravery of our soldiers and said that to have such a war memorial is extremely important. He called for self-sufficiency in defence manufacturing and asked why is it that India still has to import arms from overseas. Shri Modi spoke about the wonderful work done by the NDA government under Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee for the armed forces including initiatives for their housing. Shri Modi profusely lauded the phenomenal contribution of the Indian Army be it in Uttarakhand and in Gujarat during the 2001 Earthquake.
Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar ji recalled the time when she first sung the song in 1963 and said that when she had sung the nation the entire nation was in a somber mood. General VP Malik recalled his service in Ladakh during the China war and he spoke about the rich contribution of the Indian Army.
Shri Gopinath Munde, Shri Devendra Fadnavis, Shri Kirit Somaiya were among those present on the occasion.