An Interview with Farida Khanum

Farida Khanum

Farida Khanum. While driving through the busy streets of Lahore on a Saturday, I was trying to prepare myself for my meeting with the legendary Ghazal singer herself. As it happened, it wasn’t easy to get hold of her. With time and age, she has been very selective in the people she meets. It took me a while to get hold of her contact numbers, and to feel that courage which let me dial her number for the very first time. “Ma’am Farida Khanum baat ker rhe hein?” “Ji mein bol rhe hon” When the first time I talked to her via phone, it was as if I have had known her since ages (While driving to and from work, I listen to her melodious voice on an almost daily basis, so for me she is pretty much a regular part of my life). While driving towards her residence, I was thinking about all these things, breathing deeply to prepare myself for the moment when I will be in the presence of Malika-e-Ghazal. To be honest with my readers, I was not sure what to expect. Women in performing arts can be too plastic for my liking. Will she be the same? And within my heart I was hoping that it will not be the case. After talking to her a few times via phone, I was sure it will not be the case. Farida Khanum, Malika-e-Ghazal, will not be a disappointment, I told myself before ringing the bell at the entrance of her bungalow. Read more..

Pride of Pakistan – Iqbal Bano: The Iconic Ghazal Singer

The greatest and famous ghazal singer of Pakistan Iqbal Bano

Iqbal Bano the noted ghazal singer was born in Punjab in 1935. She was brought up in Delhi where she received her training in pure classical and light classical music from Ustad Chaand Khan. On his reference, she started her singing career from All India Radio Delhi.

In 1952 Iqbal Bano migrated to Pakistan along with her family. The same year she was married to a landlord who promised never to be hindrance in her singing. Iqbal Bano received invitations for performances from Radio Pakistan. She also did playback singing for Pakistani movies in 19500; some of which are still remembered because of her soulful singing. In 1957 Iqbal Bano first sang for the public in Arts Council Lahore.

Iqbal Bano has sung several beautiful ghazals in her typical classical style for which she has been appreciated by people from all walks of life. But she is best known for rendering the poems of Fayez Ahmed Fayez be it the soul stirring sensitive “Dasht-e- Tanhai Mein” or the inspirational “Hum Dekhenge”, she has truly immortalized Fayez’s work. Hum Dekhenge became the hallmark of her career as she sang the song in public when the then military government had banned such songs and the poet himself was declared a persona non grata by the military dictator.

Besides singing in Urdu, she also sang in Persian and was popular in Iran and Afghanistan. Iqbal Bano was awarded the Sitara-e- Imtiaz for her contributions to Pakistan’ music industry.

This iconic ghazal singer passed away on 21st April 2009. She has left behind numerous unforgettable melodies and also a void which is impossible to fill.