October 03, 2018 06:34 PM
Anita Hjorth Lerche with her son Alexander.


Danish Punjabi singer Anita Hjorth Lerche was one of artists from over 124 countries who contributed musically in paying homage to 'Father of the Nation' Mahatma Gandhi through his favourite bhajan 'Vaishnav Jan To Tene Kahiye'. It is part of the 150th Birth Anniversary Celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi. A medley version of bhajan from artists of 124 countries was released by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a function at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Tuesday. Anita is also known as 'Heer' from Denmark

On Gandhi Jayanti, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a medley version of the famous bhajan by artists , during the closing ceremony of the Mahatma Gandhi International Sanitation Conference in the presence of the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Gutierrez, External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of Drinking Water and Sanitation Sushri Uma Bharti and other prominent personalities.

India has begun to celebrate Mahatma Gandhi’s 150 years Birthday, and I felt really honored by The Embassy of India in Denmark when they asked me to sing an a cappella version of one of Mahatma Gandhi’s favorite Bhajans, “Vaishnav Jan To”.

The song describes a virtuous human being who forsakes worldly temptations for the benefit of others," said an excited and jubilant Anita, who is now based in Indianapolis.

She narrated that the project was made in cooperation with VisitDenmark and Danish Cultural Institute and was completed in less than two weeks! "The video is filmed at two of my all-time favorite locations in Denmark: Nyhavn and Tivoli."
Also the full video of Anita performing “Vaishnav Jan To” has been released online today by the Embassy of India in Denmark.

"A huge thank you goes out to everyone that was a part of this project. This was a brand new language for me to sing in Gujarati (17th), and I couldn’t have done it without the following people’s support: Language coaches: Pranav Shah, Rupal Thanawala, Jatin Patel. Recording and mixing: Samir Cuhtait and Makeup & Hair: Seema Naz. My dear family including Soren and my friend Anil Kumar Jangra.

A music video of eight devotional Hindi Bhajans (prayers) by Anita were also a hit.

Indiana Women Commission 2018 Torchbearer Awardee Rupal Thakker Thanawala said "Happy 150 Mahatma Gandhi Jayanti Birthday. My best friend Anita Hjorth Lerche paid tribute by singing his favorite bhajan in Gujarati on locations of Denmark. She worked extremely hard on pronunciations and time in Gujarati."

All Indian Missions abroad identified a local artists/group to record the bhajan in the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti. The result is an eclectic, colourful and rich rendition of the hymn infused with the local flavor of the region. From Armenia to Angola, Sri Lanka to Serbia, Iraq to Iceland, prominent local singers/groups have showcased their talent to this favourite hymn of the Mahatma.

The famous Gujarati hymn was penned by the 15th century poet Narsimha Mehta and was one of the favourite bhajans of Mahatma Gandhi who included it into the roster of prayers routinely sung before his meetings.

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