The site wishes Manna Dey a very happy birthday with this song which Suresh Chandvankar ji, famous record collector had shared with us.
This is a very special song of Manna Dey as its lyricist is Gandhi ji.
Suresh ji told us the story about the song. This song was recorded in 1969. The Maharashtra government had made a special committee to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi's birth centenary. It was proposed to get a special song recorded for the same and Vasant Desai was given the job to compose it. Now, the question arose as to the song when an incident came up for discussion.
It had so happened that Sardar Patel's daughter Maniben had written a postcard to Gandhi ji asking him many questions related to God. These were:-
Where does God Stay? (कहाँ रहते हैं?)
What does he look like? (वो कैसे दिखते हैं?)
Where should we search for him? (उन्हें कहाँ खोजें?)
If we meet him, what should we ask him? (उनसे क्या पूछें?)
If we meet him, what should we request from him? (उनसे क्या माँगें?)
Gandhiji had lovingly replied answering all the questions calling God "Namrata Ke Samrat" in the form of the following prayer to God:-
हे नम्रता के सम्राट, दीन भंगी की हीन कुटिया के निवासी
गंगा यमुना गोदावरी के जलों से सिंचित इस सुन्दर देश में
तुझे सब जगह खोजने में हमें मदद दें
हमें ग्रहणशीलता और खुला दिल दें तेरी अपनी नम्रता दे
भारत की जनता से एकरूप होने की शक्ति और उतकण्ठा दे
तू तभी मदद के लिए आता है जब मनुष्य शून्य बनकर तेरी शरण लेता है
हमें वरदान दें कि सेवक और मित्र के नाते इस जनता की हम सेवा करना चाहते हैं
उससे कभी अलग न पड़ जाएँ हमें त्याग भक्ति की मूर्ति बना
ताकि इस देश को हम ज़्यादा समझें और ज़्यादा चाहें हमें वरदान दें
These answers were recorded as the song and that is how Gandhiji became the lyricist.
Suresh ji told me at the Bangalore RMIM meet in 2011 where he shared this that he found stacks of records of these in a market in Mumbai for sale. Apparently, some godown had condemned these and sent. He bought all copies and that is how this rare song came out of oblivion. When Manna Dey was made to hear it on the phone, he got emotional and tears came to his eyes. He said he had not heard the song since the recording and thought it was lost!
You all can enjoy it too thanks to his generosity. We all pray for many more happy healthy years for Manna Babu. May God bless him.
Interestingly, some time back Crossfire Films had a video directed by George Mangalath Thomas, of this same bhajan written by Mahatma Gandhi, music composed by Ilayaraja, sung by Bhimsen Joshi and Pandit Ajoy Chakravarty recited by Amitabh Bachchan. Here it is:-