Udit Narayan's Indian citizenship questioned

Mumbai, Jan 15 (IANS) No sooner had singer Udit Narayan's name been mentioned among the possible candidates for the Padma Shri this year, he was accused of not being an Indian citizen and therefore not eligible for the civilian honour.

But the singer - who according to some reports was born in Raj Biraj town of Saptari district in southern Nepal - says that he was born in Bihar.

"They are out to malign me and stop me from being given the recognition that the government thinks I deserve by saying I am not an Indian. They say I was born in Nepal, but that's completely false. I was born in a village called Baisi on the Supaul district of Bihar in 1955 at my maternal grandparents' home," Udit told IANS.

He sees this is an attempt to debar him from the Padma Shri.

"I've been singing for 40 years. I'm as Indian as can be. I've never been involved in any scandal or controversy. The only time I did get into a scandal it was in my own district and engineered by my own Bihari brothers. I'm the most non-controversial guy around," said Udit, who landed in a controversy when Ranjana Jha, who claimed to be his first wife, challenged his marriage with Deepa.

"They're angry with me because they think I haven't done anything for Bihar. Even during the floods last year I made a donation of Rs.5 lakhs (Rs.500,000). I don't know why people are out to get me? Maybe people are jealous. They've no reason to be. I'm not singing that many songs any more. After you sing for 30 years, you do tend to slow down and take it easy. Now I want to watch my son Aditya's career," he said.

Aditya, in fact, has composed some songs that he wants Udit to sing.

"I'd be honoured to sing for my own son. It's the proudest moment for any father. We're a small family - me, my wife and son. I just wish people wouldn't try to dampen our spirits."

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