Even I had no idea, no knowledge about this woman who started singing as a child.
The One I'm going to talk about, she’s not the only one! There are many famous personalities in Kashmir about which you have no idea.
But the person I'm going to talk about is a “singer from Kashmir”
Raj begum (Devangari) also known as the nigh tangle of Kashmir was born in the heart of Kashmir valley! Mangarbal bagh, Srinagar on 27 march 1927. She was a famous 20th century singer whose voice used to drive people crazy.
She recognized her merriment voice when she was just a little kid.
Like everyone else she had a dream. It looks very straightforward and effortless when we talk about her as a singer and famous. It looks more like ‘going for an audition in X-factor and boom you’re a singer!
NO, it wasn’t this easy. The time she was born was harsh, she saw struggle.
Being a Kashmiri, people here raised questions on her. Opposed her for working saying “women’s place is always in kitchen” but she never heard, cared about people.
“Working was the bravest thing a girl could do”
“no one touches the sky without going through complications”
she stared her singing career with performing at weddings.
But the allure of her voice managed to rule several generations of Kashmir.
Singing in the middle of crowd and her parents supporting her was the reason she joined radio Kashmir and became a staff artist in 1954-1986.
Hearing her enthralling voice, reached every corner of India.
Finally, it was the time for her! For her to complete her dream and she did it!
Today many girls from all over Kashmir can participate and sing in public only because she gave them what most people lack ‘courage’.
Her songs- maer manzi, mastaan dil kararo dil he, pyari pyari aakho, yaaden ander ya, rang tehhak became household hits.
She even had a daughter and two sons and luckily their children also.
Moreover she was bestowed with Padma Shri in 2002 and was conferred Sangeet Natak Academy Award — India’s highest honour to practicing artistes in 2013.
Besides she was also bestowed with sangeet natak academi award, sadiq memorial award, gold medal for best music concert, silver shield by kala Kendra, bakshi memorial committee award, award from brasar bharti in 1999.
Legendary Bollywood star, Dilip Kumar who heard her at a hotel in Srinagar in the 1970s, famously eulogised her saying, “As long as Kashmir has Raj Begum its mesmerizing voices shall never die.”
But every one has to die. Raj begum also know as the ‘Asha Bhosle of Kashmir’ died on October 26, 2016 at her daughter’s residence in Chanapora locality.
Due to some health problems, and been hospitalised frequently over a year with various problems. She breathed her last around 7 am at SMHS hospital.
People showed grief over this loss.
Even Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti expressed grief over the demise of the legendary singer.
“I am saddened by the news of death of legendary playback singer Raj Begum. May her soul rest in peace! My condolences to the family,” said singer Waheed Jeelani.
Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Ghaulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah also condoled Begum’s death.
Kashmir will remember her as a proud legacy!
–RIP ‘Raj Begum’