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  India   All India  13 May 2018  Awadh’s last royal singer passes away

Awadh’s last royal singer passes away

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 13, 2018, 5:24 am IST
Updated : May 13, 2018, 5:24 am IST

Years later, when Begum Akhtar, also known as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, heard her, she immediately took her under her guidance.

One of the best singers of the fifties and sixties in Lucknow, she led a life of anonymity in the past few years. Her voice once resonated through royal functions and she excelled in rendition of ‘baithak thumri’. (Representational Image)
 One of the best singers of the fifties and sixties in Lucknow, she led a life of anonymity in the past few years. Her voice once resonated through royal functions and she excelled in rendition of ‘baithak thumri’. (Representational Image)

Lucknow:  Zarina Begum, the last court singer of Awadh, died here on Saturday after a prolonged illness. She was 87.

One of the best singers of the fifties and sixties in Lucknow, she led a life of anonymity in the past few years. Her voice once resonated through royal functions and she excelled in rendition of ‘baithak thumri’.

 

In one of her last interviews a few years ago, the singer lamented, “My brother took away everything I had— all the property and money. I led a very difficult life. It wasn’t easy”.

Members of her family say no one from either the government or the public came forward to help the ‘royal’ singer, who lived in poverty.

Born in Nanpara in Bahraich, Zarina Begum had begun her musical training under Ghulam Hazrat at the age of 11.

Years later, when Begum Akhtar, also known as Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, heard her, she immediately took her under her guidance.

Begum Akhtar asked her father to give Zarina  to her. She wanted to adopt her. She took her under her guidance and Zarina went to become a huge name.

 

Abiding by the traditions of Lucknow ‘gharanas’, Zarina Begum would sing in purdah and yet enthral audience.  She was also a well known singer for the All India Radio in the fifties.

The song “Humri atariya”” from the Madhuri Dixit-starrer film ‘Dedh Ishqiya’ was originally sung by Zarina Begum.

Mohd Naved, her son-in-law, said that the government did not extend any help for Zarina Begum’s treatment. Three years ago, the Akhilesh government had conferred the Begum Akhtar award on her which came with Rs 3 lakh. This money was spent on treatment and her fans later arranged for some more  aid through crowd funding.

Tags: begum akhtar, zarina begum, dedh ishqiya