Iqbal Bano is a renowned singer in Pakistan. She gave the country some of the most amazing hits. The great lady was born in 1935 in the city of Delhi. She stayed active during the years 1940-2007. In the year 1974, she received the Pride of Performance award (Tamgha-e-Imtiaz) from the government of Pakistan.
A Tribute to the Queen of Ghazals
In today’s article, we will be discussing her contribution to the musical scenario of Pakistan.
Iqbal Bano’s songs are famous worldwide. When she was young, she developed a fondness for music. She wanted to pursue this love as a career. When her father heard her singing, he realized the talent she had. He gave her permission to continue this passion.
She started to study classical music, under the supervision of Ustad Chand Khan and Ustad Sabri Khan. Both of her teachers belonged to the famous ‘Delhi Gharana’. This family was known as an expert in classical music and its forms. Despite having their own daughters, training to become singers, they preferred to train Iqbal Bano too. They believed that she would exceed everyone else. They instructed her in the genres of ‘thumri’ and ‘dadra’. Iqbal Bano was set to become a popular name in classical music.
When she was ready to show her talent to the public, she was nominated by her teacher to perform. Her first song performance was on the platform of ‘All India Radio’. Her first few songs were recorded in the same studio. When she turned 17, she migrated to Pakistan with her family. Her wedding was arranged with a landlord. She married him only with a request to allow her to sing. After marriage, she moved to Multan with him. Her husband encouraged her to continue with her singing career.
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By the 1950s, she had become famous. Her name as a classical singer was known to all. Iqbal Bano’s ghazals were mesmerizing to the ears. She had recorded songs for Pakistani Urdu films. Most popular film names include:
Sadly, her husband passed away in 1980. As a result, she moved to Lahore. Radio Pakistan invited her to sing and record her voice. Lahore Arts Council arranged her debut concert in 1957. People loved it when she sang the poetry written by the famous Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Iqbal Bano songs are worth-hearing. Another hit song sung by her in 1985 was ‘Hum Dekhenge’ which she sang live in Lahore. This song is still remembered as a beautiful rendition of Faiz’s poetry. She established her name as a specialist singer.
In February 1986, Al Hamra, Lahore organized an event in the honor of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. This event was called ‘Faiz Mela’. Iqbal Bano sang Faiz’s verses in that event. There is no recording of that event. However, people who attended it still remember the amazing performance of Iqbal Bano.
Pakistan Television also acknowledged her voice. In 1975, she sang a poem of Baqi Siddiqui. The title of the song was ‘Daagh e Dil’. The video of this performance is still played on television in her memory.
Her classical songs are brilliant renditions. Nasir Kazmi’s poetry was also sung by her and appreciated for it. She also gave voice to Persian poetry as well. These songs became popular in Afghanistan too. Iqbal Bano continued singing despite restrictions from the dictatorship regime.
Iqbal Bano gave the ghazal tradition a new feel. Western legends, Joan Baez and Maria Callas regularly compare her. Many people also call her the ‘Ghazal Queen’. Fans named her an interpreter of ghazal poetry. People believed that the way she gave emotion to the poetry, the meaning of each word clarified itself. Her voice gave context, possibilities, and imagination to the words. Music lovers admire her courage. She stood against those who were against music. People also call her music a symbol of the power of resistance. Also, she brought attention to the thumri style of classical singing with her songs.
Iqbal Bano’s famous songs are:
- Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein
- Ranjish Hi Sahi
- Hum Dekhenge
- Mohabbat Karne Wale
- Ulfat Ki Nai Manzil ko Chala
- Sham-e-Firaq Ab Na
- Muddat Hui Hai Yaar Ko
- To Lakh Chale Ri Gori
- Tere Khayal Se
- Abke Hum Bichhde
- Daag E Dil Hum Ko
- Apni Muhabbat Ke
- Hum Bagh-e-Tamana Mein
- Apni Mohabbat Ke Afsane
- Teri Umeed Tera Intezar
- Ab Ke Sawan Sajjan Ghar Aaja
- Kab Thehrega Dard
- Tu Lakh Chale Re Gori
- Payal Main Geet
She became ill at the age of 74, in 2009, and died in Lahore Pakistan. The time period of her illness was very short. Her sudden demise left her fans teary-eyed.
No doubt, we can easily conclude that Iqbal Bano is the best Pakistani ghazal singer of all time. The music industry will never forget her contributions.