Today is the death anniversary of Iqbal Bano, a renowned Pakistani singer. Bano was born in 1935 at Delhi. She excelled at performing classical and semi-classical South Asian vocal music, especially ghazals, thumri and dadras.  Although Bano sang in both Urdu and Persian, but she was admired more for her renditions of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s verse.

She revolutionized the Pakistani ghazal tradition, introducing a deeply personal and provocatively political dimension to music rooted in the allegorical and the devotional. Earlier, she studied music from Ustad Chand Khan. Later, she migrated to Pakistan in 1952 after her marriage to a land lord of Multan.

She sang for films Gumnaam (1954), Qatil (1955), Ishq-e-Laila (1957), and Nagin (1959) which brought her to national prominence. Bano sang and recorded several songs on All India Radio and Radio Pakistan as well.

In 1974, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government conferred her with the award of Pride of Performance. During the military regime of General Zial-ul-Haq, she was barred for a time from singing in public or on television.

However, she defied Zia-ul-Haq by singing “Hum Dekhen gay” of Faiz Ahmad Faiz in 1985, in Lahore, during a concert which comprised of 50,000 people.

She died on April 21, 2009 in Lahore.