Today is the fourth death anniversary of the legendary artiste of Nazrul Sangeet Feroza Begum, who had tremendous contributions to popularise Nazrul’s evergreen songs in Bangladesh and India in her 74-year-old long music life.
Marking the day, her family will arrange a milad and doa mahfil and distribute food among the orphans. Different television channels will also air special programmes to pay tribute to the singer.
Born on July 28, 1926 to lawyer Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail and Begum Kawakabonnessa, Feroza started her formal music education in Kolkata under the tutelage of Chitta Roy at the age of 13.
One year later, Feroza Begum began her music training under the direct supervision of Kamal Dasgupta, one of the top music directors of the subcontinent, whom she later married.
At the age of 14, Feroza Begum’s first song record was published from Kolkata’s famous Colombia Recording Company. At that point of time, Feroza Begum was a regular performer at Kolkata Radio Station. She also used to perform Islamic Sangeet, Ghazal, Bhajan, modern Bengali songs and Nazrul Sangeet with great dedication.
One after another Bengali and Hindi/Urdu songs in gramophone version of Feroza Begum were launched by His Masters Voice Company. Out of those, Amar Moner Shagor Kinare, Kabhu Pai Kabhu Paina, Tumi Jodi Chaho Moore, Ekti Ridoy Gan Geye, Tumi Bhulaye Na, Kiyu Tumase Mujhko Pyar, Kab Tak Ye, Thehre Thehre Jara were the most popular ones amongst the audience.
Feroza Begum then started learning music under the tutelage of Kazi Nazrul Islam. She became a unique singer through relentless and devoted practice and decided to spread Nazrul’s songs in the hearts of the common people.
She struggled a lot to spread Nazrul’s songs and forwarded to such a position that she created a landmark. For her dedication to continue the legacy of Nazrul Sangeet in Kolkata in 1960s, she earned the fame as ‘rebel disciple of rebel poet.’ The best artistes of West Bengal recorded Nazrul’s songs under the direction and supervision of Feroza Begum.
The recorded numbers of songs sung by her are more than 700. Among those, the numbers of long-play records were 36.
She sang 150 singles in her solo concert at Kolkata’s Mahajati Sadan and Rabindra Sadan.
Terminating her illustrious music career in Kolkata, the singer, however, returned to Dhaka and settled down with family.
In 1979, the government of Bangladesh honored Feroza Begum with the Independence Day Award. In 2012, the West Bengal government awarded her with Banga Samman. In recognition of the lifetime contribution, West Bengal government honoured Feroza Begum with the title of ‘Mahaguru’ in 2013 and in 2015, the title of Banga Bibhushon, the highest award (music) of West Bengal was bestowed upon her.
She got the Golden Disc Award for selling one million copies within one month of the Nazrul Sangeet Shaon O Raate Jadi by Japan’s most famous recording company CBS.
More importantly, she established her permanent address of love in the heart of millions of listeners.
Feroza Begum, the most popular artiste had a pleasant life of 88 years, leaving behind astounding examples of pursuits and struggles. She dedicated her life to collect, publish and distribute Nazrul Sangeet. She witnessed the glimpses of her achievements in her life time and she became a living legend herself.
Since 2016, Dhaka University introduced an award named Feroza Begum Gold Medal to keep the name of Feroza Begum alive.