Tomorrow(9th September) marks the 2nd death anniversary of legendary Nazrul artiste Firoza Begum. The artiste was born in Gopalganj on July 28, 1930 to the zamindars of Ratail Ghonaparha. Her father was Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail, mother Begum Kaokabunnesa. She became drawn to music in her childhood. The singer started her career in 1940s. She first sang in All India Radio while studying in class six. She met with poet Kazi Nazrul Islam at the age of 10. Nazrul was impressed by her vocal talent. She was also a direct student of poet Nazrul. Poet Nazrul was then the chief trainer of HMV. Feroza set her place in the hearts of Bengali audience by singing two Nazrul songs in the All India Radio. Her first record was published in 1942 from HMV when she was 12. Since than 12 LP, 4 EP, 6 CD and more than 20 audio records were released.
The artiste lived in Calcutta (now Kolkata) from 1954 until she moved to Dhaka in 1967. In the illustrious career that followed, Feroza sang modern Bangla songs, Gazhal, Kawali, Bhajan and varied genres of music. She performed around 300 solo concerts. In 1949, Firoza and Talat Mahmud were the voices that inaugurated the Dhaka Shortwave Radio. She was also the first chairman of Nazrul Institute.
In 1956, Firoza married to Kamal Dasgupta, a singer, composer and lyricist. Her sons Hamin Ahmed and Shafin Ahmed are also musicians. They are currently the members of rock band Miles.
About her immense contributions to country’s music arena, noted music exponent Lovely Shamsunnahar said, “At a time when Nazrul Sangeet was in a state to reject in this part of the world, it was the artiste who really revived its splendour and immersed new life into Nazrul music. She emerged as the most legendary Nazrul Sangeet singer in the subcontinent through her exceptional presentation and unique style.”
In recognition of her contribution, Feroza Begum was honoured with many awards included Independence Day Award, Netaji Shuvash Chandra Award, Satyajit Ray Award, Nasiruddin Gold Medal, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy Gold Medal, Best Nazrul Sangeet Singer Award, Nazrul Academy Award, Churulia Gold Medal, D.Lit from Bordwan University, Gold Disk from CBS, Japan Lifetime honorary award, Meril-Prothom Alo Award, Bongo Shomman, Sheltech Award and more.