Remembering Juthika Roy on her 10th death anniversary (05/02/14), the iconic bhajan vocalist celebrated as the modern-day #Meera during the pre-independence era. Renowned for her soul-stirring Meerabai bhajans such as “Ghunghat ke pat khol” and “Pag Ghunghru Baandh Meera Naachi Re,” Juthika Roy carved a niche for herself in the hearts of many.
Her melodious renditions won the hearts of Hindi and Bengali cinema audiences alike, making her a celebrated figure in her time. Her voice captivated notable personalities, including Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who were avid admirers of her work.
On the historic day of August 15, 1947, as Nehru journeyed from Teen Murti Bhavan to the Red Fort to mark India’s independence, Roy’s bhajans filled the air, broadcast live by All India Radio. After her performance, at Nehru’s request, she continued to sing until the national flag was hoisted, adding a memorable soundtrack to a pivotal moment in India’s history.
In her reflections, Roy shared an anecdote about Sarojini Naidu revealing how Gandhi found solace in her bhajans during his incarceration in Pune, making her music an integral part of his daily prayer meetings. She even had the honor of performing privately for Gandhi at his residence.
Embarking on her musical journey at just 12 years old with her first album, Roy was mentored by the renowned rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. Her collaborations with the esteemed Bengali music director Kamal Dasgupta, especially the revered Narayan stuti “Narayan Shriman Narayan,” continue to resonate with listeners.
Roy’s versatile talent extended beyond Hindi and Bengali, as she lent her voice to songs in various languages, including Urdu and Tamil.
On February 5, 2014, the music world lost this luminary in Kolkata after a long illness. As we commemorate her legacy, we hope for her soul to find everlasting peace.