Google doodle celebrates the birth anniversary of Gauhar Jaan
Gauhar Jaan was born under the name of Angelina Yeoward 26 June 1873, Azamgarh of Armenian origin. Her father Robert William Yeoward, worked as an engineer in a dry ice factory and married her mother, Victoria Hemmings in 1872. Hemmings was an Indian by birth and was a well-trained singer and dancer.
Born as Angelina Yeoward in present day UP’s Aazamgarh, Gauhar Jaan was of Armenian descent. Her mother, Victoria Hemmings, was an Indian by birth and was a well-trained singer and dancer. After divorce with her husband, Victoria moved to Benaras along with a Muslim nobleman, ‘Khursheed’. Eight year old Angelina accompanied her mother to the new city.
About Gauhar Jaan
In Banaras, the mother and daughter converted into Islam. While Victoria changed her name to Malka Jaan, Angelina’s name was changed to Gauhar Jaan. Malka Jaan became and accomplished singer and Kathak dancer in Benaras and made a name for herself.
Two years later Malka Jaan along with her daughter moved to Calcutta and started performing in the courts of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah.It is in Calcutta that Gauhar started her training and became a proficient in Hindustani classical music, Keertan and Rabindra Sangeet, among other forms.
She was trained under the founding members of Patiala Gharana of classical music Kalu Ustad – Ustad Vazir Khan of Rampur and Ustad Ali Baksh. Gauhar Jaan learnt Kathak from the legendary Brindadin Maharaj the granduncle of Birju Maharaj and had lessons in Keertan from Charan Das.
First performence of the Gauhar Jaan
first performance was at the courts of Darbhanga Raj in modern-day city of Bihar in1887 and was appointed as court musician. 1896 in she started performing in Calcutta and developed a huge following. Gauhar was given the title of first dancing girl in her records.
Is travelled across India and preformed in several cities. Gauhar was also invited to perform at the coronation of King George 5 in Delhi Darbar. Gauhar Jaan also composed ghazals under the pen-name of Hamdam.
In her final days she moved to Mysore at the invitation of Krishna Raja Wadiyar 4. She was appointed a palace musician, however, she passed away within 18 months on 17 January 1930.