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PREETI BANERJEE DIES AT 90

By Sankar Ray

 

Some of us – either journalist Chandra Sekhar Bhattacharjee or lensman Bappaditya Bhattaharyya asked somewhat childishly, “Can you sing a few lines of one of your favourite songs Sarfaroshi ki tamanna ab hamaare dil mein”. She, at 90, sang out: and all three of us were dazed at the still-retaining melody and the rare grain of vocal throw That was Preeti Banerjee who was the first to have learnt the song, Sare Jahanse Achchha, after the lyric of the great Urdu poet Mohammad Iqbal was tuned into song by Pandit Ravi Sankar in 1946 at the Andheri commune of the Indian People’s Theatre Association (IPTA), cultural front of the Communist Party of India. Pandit Ravi Shankar was then the music director of IPTA and was a recruit of the then general secretary of the CPI, P.C. Joshi.

 

Preetidi breathed her last on August 25 in Kolkata. She came of the famous Sarkar family of Rajshahi (now in Bangladesh). Her grandf