Special celebrations planned to commemorate 100 years of Begum Akhtar

NEW DELHI: As the nation celebrates the year-long birth centenary celebrations of noted classical singer Begum Akhtar, commemorative coins of Rs 100 and Rs 5 were issued today by union culture minister Shripad Naik to symbolically mark the start of the celebrations.

Noted singers Rita Ganguly (Dadra), Shashank Shekhar (Thumri) and Prabhati Mukherjee (Ghazal) gave an impressive performance on the occasion. 

DD Bharati is also marking the day with an exclusively curated show, Akhtari ki Mehfil aur Kaifi Azmi at 9 pm with repeat telecast at 5 am and 1 pm.

The show by Yatindra Mishra and Kumud Diwan features the Begum and celebrated Ghazal writer and reciter of that era, Kaifi Azmi and few others. Begum Akhtar’s archival performances were hand-picked and woven together for this telecast where Kafi Azmi will be personally present.

Akhtar Bai Faizabadi, popularly called Begum Akhtar (07 October 1914 –30 October 1974) was a famous Indian singer of ghazal, dadra and thumri. She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for vocal music and was awarded Padam Shri and Padam Bhushan by government of India. She was given the title of mallika-e-ghazal (queen of ghazals). On completion of 100 years of this versatile genius, the government has decided to commemorate the occasion. With this end in view, a National Implementation Committee (NIC) under the chairmanship of the culture minister was constituted to chalk out programmes and activities that may be taken up during the commemoration year. 

Some of the initiatives which will be taken up during the commemoration period are centenary festivals in Delhi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Bhopal and Kolkata, web portal and digitisation/ documentation etc., of the legacy of Begum Akhtar, exhibitions and workshops, publications, seminars and a scholarship to young artists.  

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