Munni Begum: Symbol of simplicity
By Anis Ahmed Shakur
'Hum khud tarashtay hain manazil kay raho sung
Hum wo nahin hain jin ko zamana bana
The above mentioned lyrics holds true in the case of Munni Begum.
Let us read the real life story of this ghazal singer as narrated by her:
'There are artists who achieve great name and fame, when they are at the pinnacle of their career.
As far as I am concerned, all I have been endeavoring to do is just to be like an artist and that is it.
As artist of high repute and the height of artistry are a far-fetched idea for me.
I had been interested in music and singing since my childhood.
Besides, I was the youngest child in my family, hence, apart from being the center of attraction for my
parents, I received the maximum love and attention from both my father and mother.
Later, I took some music lessons from the famous singer, Khwaja Ghulam Mustafa Warsi.
Moreover, I spent three years in the college of music. After a while, I settled down in Karachi and since
then I have been striving to get recognition as an artist.
I have been through extremely difficult times and I have faced tremendous hardships.
However, I was never discouraged.
Further, by the time I had started my practical life, the entire responsibility of my family had fallen
on my shoulders.
All I could do was to take one day at a time.
Slowly, but surely, bad times passed over.
I feel that what ever I have attained in my life has been made possible because of my father.
I consider myself one of the most fortunate daughters in this world.
Each and every step that I took to reach my destination was accompanied with the guidance, prayer and co-operation
from my dedicated father.
Furthermore, I also believe that because of his unconditional love and devotion, I was able to perform in
Gradually, I recorded ghazals for the radio and television musical programs.
Soon my audio and video cassettes were penetrating the musical industry in Pakistan and then, all over the
Today, I stand in front of you.
I have been singing ghazals for over two decades.
Music lovers are acquainted by the fact that I have chosen an entirely different style of singing, from
Rather, I have simplified my presentation for the sake of the general public.
Take, for instance, these ghazals: 'Hua zamana keh us nay hum ko na bhool kar bhi salam bheija'.
'Mareez-e-mohabbat unhe ka fasana' (poet: Ustaad Qamar Jalalavi).
This is on jeof those ghazals which took my name the world over.
I had recorded the following ghazal for Pakistan television's music program 'Andaaz apna apna':
'Dil ko haaal-e-qarar mein dekha'.
Basically, artists feel very pleased to be feted. I wish some one comes to me to say that he likes the way
I sing, or that I am a great singer.
Once I had been to Dubai for a concert. When I took a cab from the airport, the cab-driver was playing an
audio cassette of my ghazals.
Out of curiosity, I inquired whether he knows the name of the singer.
'Munni Begum, she is a renowned singer, do you like her ghazals', he replied.
I remained silent.
These are some of my favorite ghazals:
'Ghaeroan ko bhala sumjhe, aur mujh ko bura jana'.
'Phir wo andaaz-e-nazar yaad Aaya'.
'Jis tarhaan chahay karam farmaeye' (poet: Syed Aali Raza, composer: Khaleel Ahmed)
Both the lyrics and the composition are superb.
'pyar ki mun mein joth jagaye aik zamana beeth gaya' (Poet: Adum)
'Tum pucho aur mein na bataoon, aisay to halaat nahi'.
At every step of her life, when the odds were most against her, Munni Begum never gave up.
Instead, she worked harder.
I have tremendous admiration for her fortitude.
The trial and tribulation and her eventual triumph proves once again this golden maxim:
'When there is a will, there is a way.'