Friday, April 7, 2017


                          ( Being Honoured with Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan Award in 2005 )

                             (Farida Ji  being Interviewed by Ravinder Kaul  from Jammu for Guftagoo ) 


Farida Khanum has  a strong Kashmir connection . First , she happens to be the sister of Mukhtar Begum (wife of Agha Hashr Kashmiri ) known as Shakespeare of Indian Drama. Agha Hashr was son   of  Agha Mohd Ghani Shah a wealthy  kashmiri  shawl Trader  from Awadh who later settled in Varanasi  .  And then her  Mother was from a   poor family of Pulwama  .  

Mukhtar Begum (elder sister of farida Khanum  ) was a dazzling beauty who was an accomplished Actor , Dancer and singer  of  Amritsar  . After her marriage   in 1930, She moved to Calcutta  to live with Agha Hashr where she also acted as heroine in some plays written by her husband . In fact Farida khanum was a little girl who also accompanied them and lived with her sister in Calcutta  for many years .

Farida khanum ji adds :

"We left home at first because it was announced that India and Pakistan were to be partitioned and so was the state of Punjab.. We took just enough stuff for a month, but we could never come back after that. We started living in Pindi and then moved to Lahore. “

“ For many Years , we in our family have been discussing our roots in Kashmir. My sister and my brother would always wish to visit Pulwama,  the birth place of my Mother . You don’t know what it actually meant . You don’t know how happy I was  to be there . Yes it was an invitation  from jammu And Kashmir Government in 2007 that thrilled me. I was invited to sing in the Sufi Festival   organized by the Government . After 60 long years, I was  there to trace my roots and to perform. My mother was very simple and never demanded anything."

 “ I am   fortunate to have  my  roots in  paradise. What a  beautiful and scenic place ? I had never thought that I would be able to visit my mother's place but the invitation from the state government made my dream come true. This was the place where my father Rasool Sheikh first met my mother. I used to pray and urge Almighty to fulfil my wish of a visit to Kashmir .“

Along with her daughter , Farida ji visited Kashmir in  july 2007  at the  invitation  of the then Government . She sang at the Sufi Festival  that had a galaxy of artists like  Chand Afzal Qawwal, Adil Barki (Pakistan), vocalist Rita Ganguli,  Kathak singer Prema Shirmali, Kashmiri Sufi singer Abdul Rashid Hafiz and the  Egyptian troupe Tanoura Sufi” (Darwaish). The three day festival was  organized by , Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in collaboration with Shree Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) and Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).  The then Governor , Chief Minister and Dr Karan Singh also participated in the  Gala event.

The moment she entered  Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC)   located  on  the Banks  of serene  Dal Lake  that day , Crowds sitting inside the jam Packed Hall cheered  lustily in welcome. The venue reverberated with thundering applause  the moment she competed  scintillating delivery of  Fayaz Hashmi’s Gazal “ Aaj Jaane Ki zid Na karo “.

 She also sang  Faiz ‘s  "Woh ishq Jo hum se Rooth gaya" that sent  her audience into   nonstop clapping  .She also sang  “ Mohabbat  karne wale kum na honge “ and  many more Gazals that day.
It was something unusual  that people in kashmir witnessed after so many years of turmoil and suffocation. Many  happy memories of that gala event keep lingering in the minds  of not only the audience but  the performers as well.

 Always Drapped in colourful sarees that she likes  ,  she commands  enormous goodwill and respect  in the subcontinent  . She has a  huge Fan following  world over . As and when  she  visits   India , she spreads goodwill and love alone through her music  . The venues where she performs   are always   packed to capacity .  

May she stay Healthy and live long ……

 ( Autar Mota )

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CHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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