One of the South Asia’s most loved ghazal, thumri and classical singers, Iqbal Bano, died on Tuesday at a local hospital in Lahore. She was 74.
Iqbal Bano is best known for her ghazals and renditions of poems of famous poet and revolutionary, Faiz Ahmed Faiz.
Born in Delhi in 1935, Iqbal Bano studied under Ustad Chaand Khan of the Delhi Gharana, an expert in all kinds of pure classical and light classical forms of vocal music.
Khan taught her pure classical music and light classical music within the framework of classical forms of thumri and dadra and also sent her along to All India Radio, Delhi.
Iqbal Bano migrated to Pakistan in the 1950's and was also associated with the country’s film industry.
She is remembered for singing the works of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and gave musical relevance to his the ghazals. At the height of the Zia era, Iqbal Bano sang at the Faiz Festival in Lahore to a crowd of 50,000.
Her rendition of Faiz's poem Hum Dekhenge caused quite a stir and also landed her in trouble with the military authorities. But this act also made her an immensely popular singer, breaking the boundaries that were imposed by the select audiences of classical music.
Despite her trouble with the military government which debarred her from official concerts, Iqbal Bano continued to sing for private audiences and soon after emerged on stage owing to her immense popularity in a wide section of Pakistani society. However, her failing health restricted her performances and by 2003 or so, her appearances were rare.