Munni Begum: A self-made person

By Anis Shakur
Saturday – May 12, 2018
ISLAMABAD: ‘Hum khud tarashtay hain manazil kay raho sung, Hum wo naheen hain jin ko zamana bana gaya.’ Is a couplet that seems to work well with the eminent ghazal singer, Munni Begum.

Munni Begum was born Nadira in Murshidabad, India. Her parents provided her the best possible education to her.

Munni Begum narrates her true life-story. ‘There are artists who achieve great name and fame as they reach the pinnacle of their career. As for my humble self, all I have been endeavoring to do is just to be like an artist and this is it.

An artist of high repute and the epitome of artistry are a far-fetched notion to me. I had a flair for music since my earlier days. Apart from being the cynosure to my parents, I received the optimum love and attention from my near and dear ones as well.

In due course, I took music lessons from singer, Khawaja Mustafa Warsi. Moreover, I invested three years in the music school. In due course, I settled down in Karachi and since then I have been striving to get recognition as an artist.

Additionally, I have been through extremely arduous times and I have faced enormous hardships. However, I was never discouraged. Further, by the time I started my practical life, my family’s entire responsibility had fallen down upon me. At that crucial juncture, all I could do was to take one day at a time.

Slowly but surely bad times passed over. Whatever I achieved was made possible because of the incessant support of my father. Apparently, I consider myself one of the most fortunate daughters in the world.

My dedicated father’s guidance, prayer and cooperation accompanied each step that I took to reach my destination. Furthermore, I also believe that because of his unconditional love and devotion I was able to perform in musical programs. With the passage of time, I recorded ghazals for the radio programs and the television shows.

Soon my audio and video cassettes penetrated in Pakistan and then throughout the world. Today I stand I front of you. I have been singing ghazals for decades. Aficionados of music are aware of the fact that I have chosen an entirely different singing style from day one.

Rather for the sake of the listeners, I have simplified my singing presentation. The ghazal, ‘Hua zamana keh us nay hum ko na bhool kar bhi salaam bhaija,’ and the ghazal, ‘Mareez-e-mohabbat unhe ka fasana,’ Poet, Ustaad Qamar Jalalavi.

This ghazal spread my name the world over. In fact, I recorded it for the Pakistani television’s music program ‘Andaaz apna apna’, ‘Dil ko haal –e-qarar mein deikha.’ Presumably, artists feel pleased to been feted. I wish someone approached me to say that he applauds my renditions or that I am a great singer.

Once I was in Dubai for a concert as I took a cab from the airport the cab driver played an audio cassette of my ghazals. Out of curiosity, I inquired of him if he knows the singer. ‘Munni Begum, she is a renowned singer, did you know her.’ He replied. Munni Begum remained silent. That said Munni Begum received the Pride of Performance Award on March 23, 2008 in Karachi, Pakistan.

At every step of her life, when the odds went most against her, Munni Begum did not give up. Instead, she worked even harder. I have tremendous admiration for her fortitude. Munni Begum’s trial, tribulation, and her eventual triumph proves one again this golden maxim, ‘when there is a will there is a way.’ (The End.)