Begum Akhtar

Begum Akhtar (1914-1974), an eminent ghazal, thumri and dadra singer, was one of the most adored musicians in the Indian subcontinent. Begum Akhtar was born in 1914 in Faizabad in Uttar Pradesh. She began her musical training under Atta Ahmed Khan of Patiala. She initially sang with the name of Akhtari Begum Faizabadi. She very soon reached the heights of fame and popularity and came to be known as Begum Akhtar. Begum Akhtar possessed all the qualities that are vital for a good ghazal singer. The notes which she produced were so limpid and hauntingly sweet, that the audience was immediately captivated. She had the uncanny knack of choosing the right kind of ghazal and adorning it in a befitting tune, which she would render it so endearingly that her every note would grip the hearts of the audience. Her art was a vivid portrayal of the pure Lucknowi traditions of the nawabs dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. Begum Akhtar, popularly described as 'the Ghazal Queen of India', was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1972.