Cultural Academy pays tribute to Raj Begum on her anniversary

Srinagar: To pay tribute to the Nightingale of Kashmir, Raj Begum on her first death anniversary, Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages in collaboration with Films Division, Government of India Thursday screened a biographical film on her life at Tagore Hall here.

The film titled ‘Her Theme of freedom- Raj Begum’ depicts the life of Raj Begum who enthralled millions with her mellifluous voice for more than seven decades, and passed away last year at 89 years of age. The film was written and directed by Mohiuddin Mirza.

On the occasion, Deputy Director General Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, Secretary J&K Academy of Art, Culture & Languages, Dr Aziz Hajni, Commissioner Secretary to Culture, Dilshad, Vice Chairman J&K Tourism, Director All India Radio, Srinagar, Syed Himayoun Kaiser, Music Maestro Pandit Bhajan Sopori, and various officials from Doordarshan and other Departments were present.

Various singers paid rich tribute to Raj Begum by singing her melodious songs and said she started at a time when women were not even allowed to move out of their homes. Singing that time was out of question. Her contribution allowed female singers to come out and make their mark.

They said that along with Ghulam Hassan Sofi, she can be credited with creating a style and school of Kashmiri genre. Listening to her was pure joy and songs like Mashraev Thas Janane, Rum Gaem Sheshas transport listeners to another world.

They said that her songs including Mashravthas Janani Cze Kar Yaad Pemai Be, Wesye Gulan Aavay Bahar Az Saali Antan Baliyaar, Dil Chooran Hai Dil Nivum Shaman; Paaman Thavanam Jaaiy and Rum Gaem Sheshas Begur Gov Ban Myun became household hits in the Valley.   

To mention, Raj Begum born in 1927 started singing when it was considered a taboo for women. Like Jhelum, She was unstoppable; she thawed the long frozen cultural heritage of Kashmir and became a phenomenon in Kashmir valley. She reigned supreme from the era when broadcasting was only live and sang Gulrez in Kashmiri in her unique soprano singing style and made it immortal.

She began her singing career with performances at weddings, gradually graduating to Radio Kashmir and live concerts across India and abroad. Known as the queen of Kashmiri folk music and ghazals, Begum was honoured with a Padma Shri in 2002 and the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 2013.

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