The funeral of legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar will be held on an open ground in Mumbai's Shivaji Park, where her body will be kept for the public to pay tributes on the evening of Sunday, February 6, officials of the city civic body said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he will be visiting Mumbai later in the day to pay his last respects to Mangeshkar.
The site where the 92-year-old singer's funeral will be performed with full state honours is about 100-metre away from Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray's memorial, on the west side of the Shivaji Park, located in the Dadar area.
Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal told PTI that they have arranged about 25 kg sandalwood for Mangeshkar's cremation along with other necessary things. Around 2,000 sq ft of the park's area has been barricaded for the funeral proceedings, a BMC official said. Chahal has issued a special permission for the singer's funeral to be held at the park. "The BMC is making all necessary arrangements at the Shivaji Park," Chahal said, adding that the melody queen's mortal remains are expected to be brought to the ground in some time.
A senior official said they have made similar arrangements as done during Balasaheb Thackeray's funeral on the same ground. Chahal said they have erected two stages inside the barricaded area of the park. On one platform, the singer's mortal remains would be kept for public 'darshan' (viewing), and her various photographs will be displayed another stage, he said. Another platform was being erected near it with cement blocks for the last rites. The civic body was also erecting a stage for the VIPs outside the barricaded area, on the west side of the park.
The park gate located near MNS chief Raj Thackeray's residence has been kept reserved for the movement of VIPs, while another gate near the Shivaji Park Gymkhana will be available for the general public movement. People started arriving at the park at 1 pm to witness the funeral of the legendary singer.
A team of doctors and other medical staff from G-North ward of the BMC were also deputed at the ground to tackle any emergency. A couple of JCBs, a road-roller and a few tempos along with workers were at the ground to shape up the arrangements. An ambulance, a few water tankers and a generator van have also been arranged at the ground. An OB (outside broadcasting) van of Doordarshan also reached the ground to live telecast the cremation proceedings.
Earlier in the day, Mangeshkar's body was brought to her home on Pedder Road in south Mumbai from the hospital, where she breathed her last in the morning. Nearly 50 policemen were stationed outside the hospital, which saw a stream of visitors since morning, including politicians - Union minister Nitin Gadkari, NCP president Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra cabinet minister Aaditya Thackeray - and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.
The ambulance carrying Mangeshkar's mortal remains was escorted by a convoy of more than 10 cars, including that of Tendulkar and Thackeray.
A two-day state mourning will be observed in the wake of the demise of the legendary singer on February 6 and 7.
The national flag will fly at half mast on Sunday and Monday throughout India and a state funeral will be accorded to her.
The Sikh Mohalla street in Indore, where Lata Mangeshkar was born, was on Sunday flooded with fans who demanded that the locality be named after the music legend. She was born in the locality which is adjacent to a gurdwara on September 28, 1929. A cloth shop now operates from the place where she was born. After word of her demise spread, her fans thronged the locality. The street, adjoining the local district court, is known as Court Wali Gully and Chat Wali Gully because of the snacks shops there.
Locals said there was a picture put up by the State Directorate of Culture and Indore Municipal Corporation near Mangeshkar's birth place, with the inscription: "We are proud that our city Indore is the birthplace of Lata Mangeshkar, the divine voice of the universe. Lata's father Dinanath Mangeshkar ran a drama troupe and this troupe reached Indore during their travel to different cities. Shortly after Lata was born, the family left Indore. The house where she was born has been demolished to make way for a cloth shop. The shop owner has put up her picture inside the shop.