Legendary Kashmiri singer Raj Begum dies at 89

Raj Begum, whose captivating voice earned her the title of ‘Nightingale of Kashmir’, passed away here this morning. Begum, 89, breathed her last at her daughter’s residence in Chanapora locality. Besides her daughter, she is survived by two sons.

From a wedding singer, Raj Begum, who was born on March 27, 1927, emerged as one of the most powerful female voices in Kashmir.

Her talent for singing was always nurtured by her father and she started singing at locality weddings before she joined Radio Kashmir in 1954. There she became one of the main melodies that the station would broadcast. She retired in 1986.

Until she joined Radio Kashmir in 1954, female singers would sing in a guarded manner. However, Begum’s uninhibited, high-pitch and melodious voice changed that. Music lovers say that she used to sing from her heart, unmindful of cultural constraints and it was seen as ushering of a new freedom for women in Kashmir.

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