She praised her student, Ali Sethi, for his singing
She praised her student, Ali Sethi, for his singing

A musical evening, titled ‘Aaj Jaane Ki Zid Na Karo’, was held at Alhamra Art Centre on Wednesday to pay tribute to the legendary Farida Khanum.

The evening was an initiative of Salman Sufi Foundation and the first of a series of such concerts to pay tribute to legends. The event was moderated by senior journalist Wusatullah Khan, who had a conversation with Ms Khanum as well as singers Ali Sethi and Hadiqa Kayani.

Unveiling the evening, Mr Sufi said the initiative of paying tribute to legends reconciled with the roots. The young generation must know what great assets the nation possessed and what a huge contribution they made to enriching the culture and heritage.

Farida Khanum told Wusatullah Khan that she was seven years old when she started learning music in the then Calcutta. She said her sister Mukhtar Begum’s role was pivotal in her life and she followed her in ghazal singing because her sister was one of the finest ghazal singers of her time.

She shared with the audience the effort it took for her to learn classical music from Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan and how important were three cities -- Calcutta, Amritsar and Lahore – in her life.

“Though I am from a pure Punjabi family of Amritsar, but owing to my ustad, I learnt to speak excellent Urdu that helped me sing ghazals where accent matters a lot.”

She praised her student, Ali Sethi, for his singing and also admired Hadiq Kayani.

Sethi performed Khanum’s songs ‘Agar Tum Mil Jaao, ‘Ballay Ballay, Tor Punjaban Di’ that she had sung with Tufail Niazi at Radio Pakistan as well as ‘Dono Jahan Teri Mohabbat Mein Haar Ke’ besides Faiz’s famous ‘Hum dekhain gay’.

Kayani also enthralled audience with ghazals such as ‘Mein Ne Pairon Mein Payal’, ‘Lutf Vo Ishq Mein Uthaye Hain’ among other.

Video messages from filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and singer Rekha Bharadwaj were also screened, who sent good wishes love for Farida Khanum.

Originally published in Dawn, March 5th, 2020