Firoza Begum passes away

After seven decades ruling the hearts of music lovers, Nazrul Sangeet legend Firoza Begum has died at the age of 84.

Published : 9 Sept 2014, 03:14 PM
Updated : 10 Sept 2014, 01:20 PM

She passed away at Apollo Hospitals, Dhaka, around 8:30pm Tuesday under intensive care.

Khairul Anam Shakil, a Chhayanaut organiser, said, "She had been suffering from kidney complications and a heart problem. Some time ago, I learned that she has left us."

Family members and musicians Hamin and Shafin Ahmed, Firoza's sons, were present at the hospital at this time.

President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina have expressed their grief at her death. BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, Finance Minister AMA Muhith also mourned her death in statements.

Hamin Ahmed said his mother's remains would be preserved at the hospital for the night. She will be taken to her Indira Road home in the morning.

From there she will be taken to the Central Shaheed Minar at 2pm Wednesday for people to pay their respects until 4pm.

A Namaj-e-Janaza will be held in the afternoon at the Azad Mosque in Gulshan and Firoza Begum will be laid to rest at the Banani graveyard.

Firoza Begum was admitted to the hospital on Monday morning with kidney complications.

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.

At that time it was almost unthinkable for a Bengali Muslim girl to be allowed to train in music. But even before she was ten, National Poet Kazi Nazrul Islam was impressed by her vocal talent. They met when Firoza was auditioning at the HMV, at the encouragement of All India Radio's Sunil Bose.

Nazrul was then the chief trainer of HMV. Even when she was in class VI, she 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.

She was the artist with whom Nazrul began his single long play records.

In the illustrious career that followed, Firoza sang Rabindra Sangeet, "Adhunik Bangla" songs, Gazhal, Kawali and Bhajan for her audience. 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 Kamal Dasgupta, who had been a composer for at least a third of the national poet's songs.

Firoza has been the winner of the Independence Day Award, among numerous other honours.

Firoza left behind her three sons Tahsin, Hamin and Shafin.