Queen of golden era ghazal maestro Mubarak Begum Shaikh blessed with a rich and powerful voice died virtually unsung and in penury. She was a great singer and has sung many immortal songs like Mujhko apne gale laga lo, tumari yaad ayegi. Despite her talent, Begum remained on the fringes. She remained a second choice for playback singing, which had begun to be dominated by the sisters Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhosle. Through the 1950s and 1960s, Begum worked with the best music directors in the film industry – S D Burman, Shankar Jaikishan and Khayyam– on movies that starred screen legends like Sunil Dutt, Nargis and Rajendra Kumar. It is sad that over the years, Begum was plagued with financial difficulties and her family had to appeal for monetary help to take care of her medical bills. She craved rest from constantly having to provide for the family. Music lovers will always remember singers from the heart and not from the lips only.
Vinod C. Dixit
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)