Lata’s music played an overarching role in keeping East Indian culture intact

Dear Editor,
The passing of Lata Mangeshkar brings a curtain down on a most illustrious life of an artist par excellence. The most recorded artist, hers is a mind-boggling human feat with more than 25,000 songs to her legacy. Arguably, she outlived and outperformed her contemporaries.
It would be uneasy to assess in sum or substance, East Indian life in the later stage of colonial British Guiana, or post-colonial Guyana without the cultural impact of Lata Mangeshkar’s music. Weddings, birthday celebrations, certain religious functions, and so forth held by East Indians would have occasioned a place for her music.
Indeed, a pivotal force directed first by way of Hindi films shown in cinemas, and also through radio and private diffusion and/or juke boxes or stereos, Lata Mangeshkar’s music played an overarching role in keeping East Indian culture and heritage intact during the long days of the unlawful Forbes Burnham PNC Government.
In those days, people simply lived with the music and without the analysis; but assuredly, the many shades of darkness that flashed about—high crime in the countryside, for example, created a harsh world within which people managed to survive using whatever measured happiness they squeezed out of this lady’s and her famous contemporaries’ songs.
Said another way, people were partially rescued from the usual failure and drab of race politics by the affectionate draw of culture and music. Perhaps one day someone will write about these things for the record.
On a more subjective note, it was an opportunity truly missed when, as a high school boy I was unable to attend her show when Lata Mangeshkar visited Guyana during the mid-eighties. One is indebted, respectfully.

Rakesh Rampertab