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Roshan Ara Begum


Roshan Ara Begum

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Roshan Ara Begum (1917 - 1982) became one of the most important woman in the history of Hindustani classical music. Pakistanis revere her as Mallika-e-Mauseeqi or Queen of Music. As the daughter of Ustad Abdul Haqq Khan, Roshan Ara linked through her cousin Ustad Abdul Karim Khan to Kirana Gharana, a famous musical tradition, of whom she was the most outstanding disciple [1]

Early life and training

Born in Calcutta in or around 1917, Roshan Ara Begum visited Lahore during her teens to participate in musical soirées held at the residences of affluent citizens of Chun Peer in Mohalla Peer Gillaanian at Mochi Gate.

During her occasional visits to the city she also broadcast songs from the then All India Radio station, and her name was announced as Bombaywali Roshan Ara Begum. She had acquired this popular nomenclature because she shifted to Bombay in the late 1930s to live near Ustad Abdul Karim Khan, from whom she took lessons in Hindustani classical music for fifteen years.

Her performance in Chun Peer’s abode in early 1941 pleasantly surprised local heavyweights and connoisseurs with her expertise in rendering classical compositions. In Bombay, she lived in a sprawling bungalow with her husband Chaudhry Mohammed Hussain, a police officer.


Possessing a rich, mature and mellifluous voice that could easily lend itself to a wide range of intricate classical music pieces, Roshan Ara employed her natural talent in the promotion of the art, which requires a high degree of cultivation and training.

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  • credere

    Can the capitalization be corrected, please?

    22 Apr 2009 Reply