“Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it

takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquillity.”

–William Wordsworth

Iqbal Bano was born on this day in 1938 in Delhi, British India. Bano studied with Ustad Chand Khan, a master of classical Indian vocals, and began singing on All India Radio as a teenager. In 1952, she moved to Pakistan and married a man who vowed to support her musical career, allowing her great freedom for a female artist at the time. She sang on Radio Pakistan, provided vocals as a playback singer for popular movies, and attracted large crowds to her live concerts.

Bano sang in both Urdu and Farsi, earning admirers in Iran and Afghanistan, as well as India and Pakistan. A regular performer at the Jashn-e-Kabul cultural festival in Kabul, her powerful vocals once inspired King Zahir Shah of Afghanistan to give her a golden vase. In 1974, the Pakistani government honored Bano with the Presidential Award for Pride of Performance.

Hum Dekhenge was a powerful and popular poem that Faiz wrote hoping to see the day when Zia’s dictatorship would be over. He could not see that day, but it assumed iconic status and became a universal anthem of protest and hope after it was rendered by Iqbal Bano in 1986, and live recordings of that performance were smuggled out of Pakistan. Only last week, a complaint was filed in India against some students at a premier academic institution after they had sung this very poem that Iqbal Bano made immortal through her voice.