Google, celebrated the 145th birth anniversary of Gauhar Jaan with Google doodle today. One of the well-known and iconic classical singers of India. Gauhar was among the first performers to record music on 78 RPM and her first song was “Raga- Jogia”
Gauhar was born on 26th June 1873 and her birth name was Angelina Yeoward. Her father was Armenian and her mother Victoria Hemmings was an Indian by birth. She moved in with a Muslim family along with her mother after her parent divorced. In Banaras, they converted to Islam religion. Victoria, mother of Angelina changed her name to Malka Jaan and Angelina changed her name to Gauhar Jaan. Malka became a notable singer and kathak dancer in Banaras. Gauhar involved herself in singing and dancing at the very tender age of 13 but very few people know she was raped and to overcome this situation she did so.
A few years later mother and daughter both moved to Calcutta where Gauhar was trained as the Hindustani classical musician. Her first performance was at the Royal Court of Darbhanga Raj and was appointed as “Court Musician” in the year 1887. Calcutta was the city that gave her another title of “The First Dancing Girl” because of her dancing skills. By the end of 19th century, she had a huge fan following. Soon she began to travel all across the country. King George V invited her to perform on his coronation in Delhi.
Some of the most notable works of Gauhar are ‘Mora Nahak Laye gavanava’, ‘ ‘Ras Ke Bhare Tore Nain mere Dard-e-jigar’. She was such a melodious singer that everyone felt captivated by her voice.
By 1903, her songs started appearing in the market and were in great demand. From 1902 to 1920 she recorded almost 600 records in different languages like Hindi, English, French, Gujarati, Tamil, Marathi, Bengali, Pushto, Arabic, and Persian. Gauhar wore amazing gowns and never wore the same piece of jewellery twice and because of this she even became a style Icon at the beginning of 19th century.
On 1st August 1928, King Krishna Raja Wadiyar IV invited her to become a court musician at Mysore. During her last days, she was unhappy as her convincing relatives and Ex-husband reduced the wealth she once enjoyed. On,17th January 1960 she died nearly penniless. She was such an iconic singer and dancer that people of India still remember even after 58 years of her death.