Today’s Google Doodle is a tribute to legendary Indian singer and dancer Gauhar Jaan. June 26, 2018 marks her 145th birth anniversary.
Gauhar is most famous for songs like ‘Mora Nahak Laye Gavanava’, ‘Jabse Gaye Mori Sur Huna Live’, ‘Ras Ke Bhare Tore Nain Mere Dard-e-jigar’, etc.
Born on June 26, 1873, as Angelina Yeowar, Gauhar Jaan lived an extraordinary life.
Here are a few interesting snippets from a life well-lived:
1. Gauhar Jaan’s father was Armenian and her mother, Victoria Hemmings, was an Indian by birth. After her parents’ divorce in 1981, Angelina’s mother Victoria took her and moved to Benaras with a Muslim nobleman.
2. Both Victoria and Angelina converted to Islam after shifting to Benaras. Victoria changed her name to Malka Jaan and Angelina’s name was changed to Gauhar Jaan.
3. Malka became a noted singer and Kathak dancer in Benaras. A few years later, the mother-daughter duo moved to what was then called Calcutta, where Gauhar began training as a Hindustani classical singer.
4. In erstwhile Calcutta, Gauhar soon mastered Kirtan (a form of devotional music prevalent in Bengal) and Rabindra Sangeet (songs written by Rabindranath Tagore), among other musical forms.
5. Guahar was just 13 years old when she was raped, and it was music that gave her the strength to go on.
6. Gauhar performed for the first time in 1887 at the royal court of Darbhanga Raj, which is now Bihar. She was 15 years old at the time.
7. Gauhar was among the first performers to record music on 78 rpm records in the country, which was released by the Gramophone Company of India. She has recorded more than 600 songs.
8. In 1896, she started performing in Calcutta and developed a huge following. Soon, she began to travel across the country for performances – she was even invited to perform at King George V’s coronation in Delhi.
9. “My Name is Gauhar Jaan!” – The Life and Times of A Musician by Vikram Sampath is a chronicle on the extraordinary life of this brilliant singer.
10. Gauhar went to Mysore on the invitation of Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV and became the palace musician there. It is there that she breathed her last on January 17, 1930.