In her times, she was perhaps the most prominent ghazal singer, and 100 years on, the appeal of her voice still remains intact.
Begum Akhtar, or Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, would have been 100 years old this year, if she were alive, but even 40 years after her death, her birth anniversary is still celebrated with as much gusto, by her disciple Rita Ganguly, along with other Akhtar fans.
This year, on October 6 and 7, Kala Dharmi, a non-profit cultural organisation that was started by Akhtar herself, and is now led by Ganguly, will celebrate her centennial birth anniversary in the Capital.
The two-day event, that is being supported by Hindustan Times, will see eminent singers like Talat Aziz, Pankaj Udhas, Chandan Das, Penaz Masani and Anup Jalota paying tribute to Akhtar.
"We will all be on stage together and sing her songs one after the other," shares Ganguly, about the big evening on October 6, and adds, "We will also be introducing some young singers and poets, who I have scouted for, from across the country. We want the younger generation to take the tradition of ghazals forward."
Besides the performances, awards will also be given away. Pankaj Udhas will be conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award on October 7, while poet Amjad Islam Amjad from Pakistan will be given an award from the Begum Akhtar Institute of Ghazal for his ­contribution to poetry.
"It's important that the younger generation is motivated to keep writing," she explains.