Tributes to Juthika Roy, on the 5th death anniversary of the legendary bhajan singer.
Hailed as the ‘adhunik Meera’ during the pre-Independence days, Juthika Roy was popular for her Meerabai bhajans like “Ghunghat ke pat khol” and “Pag Ghunghru Baandh Meera Naachi Re”.
Juthika Roy sang for a number of Hindi and Bengali films and became very famous during her time. Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru both were known to be great fans of her melodious voice.
When Nehru was on his way from Teen Murti Bhavan to Red Fort in Delhi to hoist the flag of an independent India on August 15, 1947, Roy’s bhajans were being broadcast live on All India Radio (AIR).
As she finished singing and was about to leave the station, AIR officials told Roy, then 27, Prime Minister Nehru wanted her to continue till he unfurled the flag.
In an interview she had said that Sarojini Naidu had told her that Mahatma Gandhi used to listen to her songs everyday when he was jailed in Pune. “He used to start his prayer meeting every morning playing discs that played my bhajans,” Juthika Roy had once said. Later on, she had privately performed for the Mahatma in his house.
She had recorded her first album at the tender age of 12 and had famous rebel poet Kazi Nazrul Islam as her mentor.
Juthika Roy sang many songs for the famous Bengali music director Kamal Dasgupta. The soulful Narayan stuti (hymn) “Narayan Shriman Narayan” recorded in her voice is still popular.
Besides Hindi and Bengali, the singer had given her voice to a number of songs in other languages like Urdu and Tamil.
Juthika Roy died on 5 February 2014 in Kolkata after a prolonged illness.
May her soul rest in eternal peace.