Mahatma Gandhi’s Favourite Bhajan ‘Vaishnava Jan To’ Goes Global

New Delhi: As part of the 150th birth anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, artists from over 124 countries have contributed musically in paying homage to the Mahatma through his favourite bhajan ‘Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye’.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi 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 in the presence of the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Gutierrez, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Uma Bharti and other prominent personalities.

The famous Gujarati hymn was penned by the 15th century poet Narsimha Mehta and was one of the favourite bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi, who included it in the roster of prayers routinely sung before his meetings.

All Indian Missions abroad identified local artists/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 flavor of the region.

From Armenia to Angola, Sri Lanka to Serbia, Iraq to Iceland, prominent local singers/groups have showcased their talent in this favourite hymn of the Mahatma. These videos from different regions of the world were then put together in a fusion video of about five minutes to give a flavour of the bhajan as recorded by different artists. It is expected to have contribution from all the countries recognised by the United Nations.

Among the star performers is President Baron Divavesi Waqa of Nauru. President Waqa’s gesture was not just a special tribute to Mahatma Gandhi on his 150th Birth Anniversary but was also a personal gift from him to Modi. The medley version, as well as the individual country contribution,s are available on the External Affairs Ministry’s Youtube page.

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