On the 149th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday launched a medley version of the famous ‘bhajan’ 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, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti and other eminent personalities were present on the occasion.
As part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, artists from over 124 countries have contributed musically in paying homage to Mahatma Gandhi through his favourite bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye’, the MEA said.
The famous Gujarati hymn was penned by the 15th-century poet Narasimha Mehta and was one of the favourite ‘bhajans’ of Mahatma Gandhi who included it into the roster of prayers routinely sung before his meetings, it said.
All Indian missions abroad identified local artists or a group to record the ‘bhajan’ in the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti.
The result is an eclectic, colourful and rich rendition of the hymn infused with the local flavour of the region, the MEA said.
“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,” it said.
The MEA said that it was expected to have the contribution from all the countries recognised by the United Nations.
Amongst those who have contributed included President Baron Divavesi Waqa of Nauru.
President Waqa’s gesture was not just a special tribute to Mahatma Gandhi, but was also a personal gift from him to Prime Minister Modi, it said.