A Pakistani singer of ghazals
Acclaimed for singing ghazals and classical music, particularly in thumri and dadra, to her audiences' rapturous applause Iqbal Bano's singing in Urdu and Farsi is widely heard in South Asia, Iran and Afghanistan. She took vocal artistry to new heights by combining traditionalism and modernism in one of the most venerated and complex of vocal poetry forms.
Born in Delhi and moved to Pakistan in 1952, where Bano started her career with Radio Pakistan, her first public concert was in 1957 at the Lahore Arts Council to a massive success.
Known for singing ghazals, particularly those of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, that she started singing his poetry for the first time in 1981 when Faiz himself was in exile in Beirut. Bano kept singing his poetry even when there was an unspoken ban on reciting Faiz's revolutionary poetry during General Zia's dictatorship. In 1985 she appeared before a crowd of 50,000 people in Lahore and defiantly sang the verses of Faiz. His stirring anthem Hum dekhein gey, Lazim hai ke hum bhi dekhein gey ('Our day will come! Assuredly our day will come') became the battle cry of the downtrodden.
Her repertoire of ghazals in Farsi was vast and Iqbal Bano was highly regarded in both Iran and Afghanistan. Before 1979 she was often invited to the Jashn-e-Kabul, the annual cultural festival of Kabul.
Iqbal Bano also did playback singing for Pakistani films.
She was awarded 'Tamgha-I-Imtiaz' (Pride of Performance) medal, in 1974, from the government of Pakistan.
Iqbal Bano passed away in Lahore.
Compiled by:M. Nauman Khan