Google doodles have always sought the attention of millions. Certainly a praiseworthy act by Google for their thoughtful gesture to commemorate all. The wonderful personalities who have marked their presence in the world with their deeds.
And today, Google surprised us as they commemorated the 145th birth anniversary of Gauhar Jaan- the legendary music herald. The illustrator of this wonderful doodle is Aditi Damle who had created two early drafts of it.
Gauhar Jaan’s life journey
Gauhar Jaan was born under the name Angelina Yeoward. Her father William an engineer in a dry ice factory and tied the knot with her mother in the year 1872. Her mother Hemmings was an Indian by birth who was proficient in dance as well as music.
But it was after her parents got divorced that Angelina moved to Varanasi with her mother and a Muslim nobleman ‘Khursheed’. Angelina was only 8 years old when the mother-daughter duo decided to shift to Varanasi. It was then that they converted to Islam and changed their names to Malka Jaan and Gauhar Jaan respectively.
Malka Jaan transformed to be a skilled singer and dancer in the city of Varanasi. Two years later after moving into Varanasi, Maalka Jaan and Gauhar Jaan shifted to Kolkata and started performing in the courts of Nawab Wajid Ali Sha
For Gauhar Jaan, it was in Kolkata where she began her training to turn into a skilled singer who was proficient in Hindustani Classical music, Keertan, Rabindra Sangeet among the other forms.
She got titled as a court musician
It was back in 1887 that her maiden performance at the courts of Darbhanga Raj in modern-day Bengal gave her the title of ‘court musician’.
Varied performances everytime
Jabse Gaye mori sur Huna live’, ‘Mora Nahak laye gavanava’, are some of her famous songs. She had mastered the technique of condensing and performing all those elaborate melody. Hindustani classical style to merely 4 minutes or so. She has recorded more than 600 records in over 10 languages, few of them being in English, Hindustani, Tamil, Bengali, Gujarati, Persian, French, Marathi, Pushto, Arabic. Gauhar Khan always signed off from her recordings by announcing, ‘My name is Gohar Khan’!
Though almost all of her compositions have abounded with Krishna Bhakti. She remained a devout Muslim throughout her life after she embraced Islam.
Gauhar Jaan had visited Madras in 1910 for a concert in the Victoria Public Hall. It was during this visit that her Hindustani and Urdu songs got published in a Tamil music book. In December 1911 that Gauhar was prestigiously invited to sing and perform in the Delhi Durbar for the coronation of King George V. She performed a duet there and was praised for her melodious voice.
It was on January 17th of 1830 that Gauhar Jaan took her last breath.
The ‘Vintage Music from India’ of 1996 comprise of her songs and her photo forms its cover.