Monday, October 29, 2012


Today is 30th October,2012 ,the 38th Death Anniversary of  'Ghazal Queen' of India:Begum Akhtar. She left this world on 30th October,1974 in Ahmedabad, during her stage programme there.It was very shocking to all music lovers of the world,who were acquainted with her  sentimental  singing of ghazals, thumris, dadras, tappa, khayal and all types of light-classical melodies.In his tribute to Begum Akhtar,the President of India at that time,Sri Fakharuddin Ali Ahmad said "she was the only singer who always pronounced the lyrics correctly in her singing of ghazals etc.".One could see her many times in tears  after her concerts.She was born on 7th January,1914 in Faizabad (Uttar Pradesh).Her 'Birth Number' was '7',which played an important role in her life.Her earlier name was'AKHTARI' which has '7' letters. She died in her 61st (6+1=7) year of  life.Her last Long Play record 'KALAM-E-ASATIZA'  was being recorded by music director Khayyam,with a selection of 8 ghazals by Begum Akhtar herself .But due to her untimely death only 7 ghazals could be recorded.And thus last LP  of Begum Akhtar was released by HMV with her '7' ghazals only  on it.Also according to numerology the 'Single Reduced Number' of her date of death (3+0+1+0+1+9+7+4=25=2+5=7) was again'7'.Here is her last video recording for Jullundhar studio of Doordrs.These ghazals were written by Kaifi Azmi in September,1974 and then it was recorded in the voice of Begum Akhtar.
She got trained in classical music by the renowned Ustads of her time,Ustad Ata Mohammad Khan, Abdul Waheed Khan and Ustad Jhande Khan of Patiala Gharana .
In the early days of her singing career she was known as 'Akhtari Bai Faizabadi'. She appeared on the stage at the age of only fifteen years,in a programme organised ,to collect the funds for the help of earthquake victims of Bihar in 1930.She sang the ghazal"Toone butey harjayee kuch aisi ada payee,takata hai teri soorat har ek tamashai...",a dadra"Sunder saree mori maike mailai gayee,kauna se jaibe gavanava ho ram.."and two more numbers.Smt. Sarojini Naidu was present in that programme.She  praised for the superb singing  of Akhtari and gifted her a saree of Khadi.Akhtari got very much encouraged with this honour and went ahead in her career to great heights.Her most popular numbers of those days were:'Deewana banana hai to  deewana bana de...' ,'Na socha na samjha...','Koyaliya mat kar pukar  karejawa lage kataar..','Chha rahi kali ghata jiya mora lahraye hai..','Nihure nihure baharen anganwa goriya..','Abke sawan ghar aaja..'.Shakeel Badayuni's ghazal 'Aye mohabbat tere anzam pe rona aaya...'was her most popular ghazal.Being composed in raga Bhairavi she used to conclude her programmes,by singing it.
After her marriage with Barrister Ishtiaq Ahmad Abbasi of Lucknow in 1945,she was known as Begum Akhtar.She also
 acted in certain Hindi films  of 1930s  and 1940s:Ek Di Ki Badshahat, Nal Damyanti(1933),Ameena, Mumtaj Begum (1934), Jawani Ka Nasha(1935), Naseeb Ka Chakkar(1936),etc.But she left acting in films, for the sake of her career in singing.Her well known movie was Mehboob Khan's 'ROTI'(1942).She sang six songs in it,for music director Anil Biswas.Later she appeared on the screen only for a thumri singing sequence in Satyajit Ray's famous award winning film'JALSA -GHAR'(1958).
Music director Madan Mohan was her ardent fan and he persuaded her for singing playback songs in his films: Ehsaan and Dana Pani(1953).Pandit Jasraj was a great fan of her singing since his school days ,as he has disclosed it in his interview.Jigar Muradabadi was her favourite shayar but she sang the ghazals of many upcoming shayars also like:Sudarshan Fakir,Ali Jaleeli,Jasdanwala etc.
Her early records were for Megaphone record company but later she recorde many memorable LPs for HMV record company.Who can forget her ghazals:'Aayee barsaat to barsaat ne dil tod diya..','Woh jo hum mein tum mein quarar tha..','Mere humnafas mere humnawa..','Jikr us parivash ka aur phir bayan apna..' ,'Apnon ke sitam hum se bataye nahin jaate..' and many more.
Akhtaribai in film'ROTI'(1942)


She will always remain alive in the hearts of her music lovers through her unforgettable  immortal melodies.

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