On his 84th birthday, renowned playback singer KJ Yesudas emphasised the importance of music in building a world without hate, caste and religious differences. A video with his birthday message was played during an event organised by Singers Association of Malayalam Movies at Azeezia Convention Centre in Kochi on January 10, Wednesday.
“My life experience has taught me music does not have caste and religion. Through music, we can eliminate the differences among people and create a unique world,” said Yesudas. Way back in 2018, he said it would have been easier for him to enter Guruvayur temple if he was born as an insect or a housefly.
Despite several requests, Yesudas was barred from entering Guruvayur temple on the grounds that he was a Christian and that the temple does not allow entry to non-Hindus.
The veteran singer from Kerala became popular with his rendition of Sree Narayana Guru’s Jaathi Bhedam Matha Dwesham (Without caste difference and hate between religions) on November 14, 1961, a song for which he collaborated with music director MB Sreenivasan. He is estimated to have sung over 50,000 songs in various Indian languages and foreign languages including Russian. The Union government lauded him with Padma Bhushan in 2002 and Padma Vibhushan in 2017. Yesudas received the Kerala state award for best singer 26 times, Andhra Pradesh state film awards four times, Tamil Nadu state film awards five times, Karnataka Rajyotsava award once and national film awards eight times.