Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to confer the Bharat Ratna – India’s highest civilian honour – on legendary singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, who died in Chennai on Friday.
In an emotional letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Reddy said the versatile singer, who was born in the state’s Nellore district, had left a deep impact on the global music industry over the course of a career spanning five decades, and his contributions “can be gauged by the continuous flow of rich tributes from music aficionados (from) all over the world”.
“The unending saga of his staggering achievements go beyond music. With his unparalleled talent, Sri SP Balasubrahmanyam has lifted compositions to sublime levels. His untimely departure not only caused much distress to fans and celebrities living in India but also affected the international music fraternity,” the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister wrote.
Pointing out that a host of other musical stalwarts, such as Lata Mangeshkar, Bhupen Hazarika, Bismillah Khan and Bhimsen Joshi, had all been similarly honoured, Mr Reddy said a Bharat Ratna would be the “highest recognition to his remarkable work”.
Jagan Mohan Reddy’s request was noted by actor-politician Kamal Haasan, who said fans of the singer would appreciate the award.
“The honour you seek for our brother Shri SP Balasubrahmanyam is a sentiment which true fans of his voice will echo, not only in Tamil Nadu but throughout the whole nation,” he tweeted.
Thank you Honourable CM of Andhra Pradesh. @AndhraPradeshCM.
The honour you seek for our brother Shri.S.P.Balasubramaniam is a sentiment which true fans of his voice will echo, not only in Tamilnadu but throughout the whole nation. pic.twitter.com/eSeC4MnR8p
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) September 28, 2020
SP Balasubrahmanyam, who had been in hospital since August 5, died at Chennai’s MGM Healthcare hospital. He tested negative for COVID-19 earlier this month. He was 74 years old.
Tributes poured in from across the country – Lata Mangeshkar, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, AR Rahman were among those who paid their respects.
On hearing of his death Prime Minister Modi said “our cultural world is a lot poorer”.
Sports stars like Viswanathan Anand and IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings also paid tribute.
SP Balasubrahmanyam’s funeral was held at his farmhouse near Chennai on Saturday, with complete police honours.
A recipient of both the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan, SP Balasubrahmanyam sang over 40,000 songs in 16 languages and won six National Awards.