THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Devika SS, a Class 9 student from Thiruvananthapuram who enthralled music lovers through her soulful rendition of a Himachali folk song, is now the toast of the nation. Prime Minster Narendra Modi has praised the teenager for her efforts in forging cultural unity in the country.

A message in Malayalam on Modi’s Twitter page read: “Proud of Devika. Her melodious rendition strengthens the essence of Ek Bharat Sreshth Bharat.”
             
Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat is a programe launched by the Centre to promote cultural unity among various states of the country. Devika’s rendition was part of this initiative, where any two states are paired to promote cultural exchanges. Kerala was paired with Himachal Pradesh and the Himachali folk song ‘Mayee Ni Meriye’ was selected by her teacher Devi.

The video of her rendition was uploaded on the Facebook page of her school, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Pattom, on September 28. It became viral in Himachal Pradesh after a singer from the state Thakur Dass Rathi shared it on his social media accounts a few days later. It was also shared on many social platforms of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, giving it a pan-India reach.
             
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur who saw the video praised Devika and invited her to visit the state. Now, with the Prime Minister too lauding her work, the 14-year-old is on cloud nine.

“I am very much overjoyed after the Prime Minister mentioned my name and praised my song. I never expected the song to become such a big hit,” Devika told The New Indian Express from her home in Thirumala. Devika, who has received no formal training in music, has now been encouraged by friends and relatives to take up music as a career.
             
“I want to become a doctor first and then take up playback singing,” Devika said. She lives with her mother Sangeetha, a government servant, grandmother Sasikumari and younger brother Bharat Krishnan.

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