10 thoughts on “Roshan Ara Begum


  2. The names of Ustad Abdul Karim Khan and his two daughters- Hirabai Barodekar and Roshan Ara Begum will be remembered till there is music in the air!

    Their soul-throbbing melodies are a golden treasure of Indian Classical music.


    1. roshan ara begum may have been abdul karim’s niece, but was not his daughter. otherwise you are right – she was by far the best female exponent of kirana until gangubai.

  3. Being an ardent fan of this diva I was very surprised to listen to the Shuddh Kalyan. Can you please confirm if this is really Roshan Ara Begum. If it is this must be a recording of her when she was very young. And the quality of the recording is absolutely brilliant for that time. Please do respond as the track is marvellous.

  4. Roshan Ara Begum… ko “BETI” banaya tha., Ustad Karim Khan Sb. ne. Whereas, Chamakali (Smt. Hirabai Barodekar) was his natural daughter by blood ! Ustad Karim Khan Sb… and his cousin.. Ustad Abdulwaheed Khan Sb. (Guru of Begum Akhtar) were masters… and Ustad Karim Khan had a sufi-type lifestyle.. lived like a fakir.. Thats why his wife., left him… took all the 5 kids along.. converted them to Hindu names… Champakali became “Hirabai”…, Abdulkader became Sureshbhau… Sakina became Saraswati… and another daughter’s name.. that i do not recall right now.. She took the kids along.. and made them successful PERFORMING ARTISTES.

    ROSHANARA BEGUM… born / bred in Kolkata (Origins : are Bihari.. cuz Bihar borders Kolkata)… was a GEM of an artiste. A rare gem., that too. She carried the legacy of Ustad Karim Khan.. This is not meant to undermine or demean or belittle Smt. Hirabai Barodekar… also a GREAT artiste. She was of course Gaayan-Heera too.

    Both, Smt. Roshan Ara Begum… and Smt. Hirabai Barodekar (the former made a “Beti” by choice; and the latter a natural daughter) maintained the dignity of their Guru… Ustad Karim Khan Sb.

    After the wife and kids left them… Ustad Karim Khan Sb. settled in a small village called Miraj… and married another poor lady… (he needed someone to make ROTI for him.. as he said).. and is buried in Miraj…. Hirabai visited her father’s MAZAAR… every year.. on his death-anniversary (URS)…and fed the poor. Other children of his., like SUreshbabu… and Saraswati… forgot their father.. but HIRABAI remembered her father…. Hirabai had seen Islam in her father… Hinduism in her mother.. and was spiritual… (like Ustad Karim Khan Sb). ROSHANARA Begum too… imbibed that Fakir-like quality of Ustad Karim Khan Sb.

    Roshanara performed with computer-like precision. After her performance., other Ustads/Pandits shied away from performing… for fear of comparison.

    Roshanara was the Queen of RAGA DARBARI (The most difficult Raga).

    This is not to belittle the stature of Roshan Ara’s Guru-Behnaa., Smt. Hirabai Barodekar. Both were GREAT artistes.. Indian Subcontinent was blessed to have artistes like : Roshan Ara Begum., Hirabai Barodekar., and Kesarbai Kerkar.

    The beauty was in pesonality. Roshan Ara was extremely dignified… Hirabai retained the dignity of her father’s name. Kesarbai was a GRRRRREAT Giant of an artiste… but had a foul mouth… and was very abusive… nevertheless a genius… Unfortunately Roshan Ara didnt leave behind a successor to her huge legacy. Hirabai left Dr. PRABHA ATRE (who is 80 yrs old.. now.. as i write on 3 Jan 2012)…

    In the beginning was the word God.. and in the end. remains the word God. What is in between is a sphere of activity.. a man’s quest/pursuit for excellence ! (Kaar-e-Aalam.. to quote Iqbal).

    Very unfortunate that PAKISTAN couldnt maintain the HUGE legacy of Roshanara Begum… No one really cared for her… Roshan Ara was wasted in Pakistan… not to use stronger language… When she was in United India (Bombay)., she used to live in a huge bungalow (and not an apartment) in Mumbai… Dy. Commr. of Police who was a Chaudhry Saheb proposed to her and married her… He was from Lala Musa… Respecting her husband’s wishes… Roshan Ara left her settled life in Mumbai..and went to the village Lala Musa.. where she is now buried.

    She went to Pakistan out of her own free will. Had she remained in India., she would have reigned Hindustani Classical Music.. until her death in 1982. .

  5. Roshanara Begum was unique. She was incredibly down-to-earth and unassuming. I remember watching an interview of hers on PTV when I was a child. The interviewer (Naeem Bokhari) asked her what makes a singer “great”, She fell silent and thought and thought, He kept promoting her “Is it the rigorous practice (riaz)”? “Is it God-given talent”? what? She replied “Acha moseeqar honay kay liay, acha insaan hona zaroori hay” (To be a great singer/artist, one must be a good human being) And that sums up her personality. She was humble, saint-like, Artists like her are rarely born. Every time I listen to her, I marvel at the superb craftsmanship of her voice, her training, her control, her precision and above all, the sheer beauty of her voice. If somebody has a recording of that interview on PTV (or any interview of hers) please upload it so that the world can again see the beauty of her personality.

    1. Fajr ki namaaz padhne kay baad.. Roshanara Begum.. (real name : Waheedunnisa Begum) riyaaz shuroo karti theen. 3 ghantey kaa earth-shattering riyaaz. Woh galey ki CLARITY.. woh voice culture.. aise hee nahin haasil hua thaa. It was decades of rigorous riyaaz… blessed by the Divine.

      Unke galey mein NOOR tha.. aur woh Allah / Eashwar kaa gift / vardaan thaa unko. Full command thaa.. unko apne art par. Unke baad.. koi unke level kee artiste.. nahin aayeen.

      This is not to demean anyone.. Roshan Ara kaa art.. speaks for herself.. and one raga (Darbari) is enough.. for her mark to be maintained. Roshan Ara Begum ki mastery… she was a perfect HEIR (Waaris) to Ustad Karim Khan Saheb.. wohi rang.. you will see in Hirabai Barodekar… Gangubai Hangal.. (both deceased).. and also in the melodious (honey-sweet) gaayki of Dr. Prabha Atre.

      Melody was never compromised.. by Roshan Ara. She kept Melody supreme.. within the format of the Raga.. of course. To bring both.. and to do justice to both.. needed a Roshan Ara…

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