Iqbal Bano, Pride of Performance Award in 1974, (born 27 August 1935 in Delhi – died 21 April 2009, in Lahore) was a highly acclaimed female Ghazal singer from Pakistan. She was best known for her semi-classical Urdu ghazal songs and classical thumris, but also sang easy-listening numbers in the 1950s films.
Iqbal Bano was invited by Radio Pakistan for classical performances on the radio. Her debut public concert took place in 1957, at the Lahore Arts Council.
She was considered a specialist in singing the ghazals of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. In 1985, Bano became a cult icon when she roused a strong crowd of 50,000 people in Lahore by singing Faiz’s passionate Urdu anthem, Hum Dekhenge (We Will See), despite the poet’s works being banned by General Zia ul-Haq’s military regime on the grounds of his close ties with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. In due course, she generated more and more public appeal and became a specialist in singing the kalam of Faiz Ahmad Faiz and had the moral courage to violate the government ban on singing Faiz’s poems. Her inciting ghazals were seen as an act of defiance and resistance.
She was considered a great singer of the ghazals of Nasir Kazmi. She also sang Persian poetry, which became popular in Iran and Afghanistan. In pre-1979 Afghanistan, she was often invited to the annual cultural fair, the Jashn-e-Kabul.
- Pride of Performance Award (1974) by the President of Pakistan.
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