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Bibi Nooran - Kulli Rah Day

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Uploaded on Feb 24, 2009

Bibi Nooran (noora) was a nationally acclaimed singer of the Sufiyana Qalam from Indian Punjab. She originally belonged to Lyalpur (Faisalabad) in present day Pakistan but moved to India at the time of partition.

excerpts from Reeta Sharma's article about Bibi Nooran in The Tribune of february 3, 2001:

"........ Bibi Nooran was the first such woman who freed me of my prejudices. The year was 1978 and venue was the lawns of All India Radio, Jalandhar. I was walking towards the drama section when I suddenly saw this dusky, middle-aged, shabbily dressed woman sitting with some men and smoking a bidi. I threw her a dirty look and carried on.

As I was coming out, I heard a melodious female voice taking an effortless alaap. I was spellbound. I could not believe that the woman vocalist was none other than the rustic villager I had passed a few hours back. And the men who were with her were musicians themselves. One of them was playing a harmonium, the other a tabla, yet another a dholak and the fourth one was handling a couple of percussions. Many passersby had stopped to listen to her. I learnt that she was Bibi Nooran, a marassan, and a disciple of renowned Ustad Bade Miyan.

It was her haunting, melodious, velvety voice that dragged me to her house the next day. Her residence stood amidst stagnant water and mud, and there was an unbearable stench. The carcass of a dog lay with crows feasting on it. She was sitting on a charpoy with a bottle of local brew in her hand. Another woman, whose legs were encircling her girth, was scanning her dirty hair for lice.

We met frequently as my fondness and admiration for her singing grew. I even organised a solo musical evening at the local Tagore Theatre for her. The media had lapped her up and I had begun weaving dreams for her. But within two months, Bibi Nooran died of cirrhosis.

There are many Amitojs and Bibi Noorans around us who are blessed with talent and capability. Today, my definition of "bad" has become somewhat clear. I now strongly feel that it is not people who are "bad" but drinking and smoking certainly are. Hundreds of such extraordinary people have left suddenly without achieving the success that was within their grasp."

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