Gauhar Jaan: The First Recording Superstar of India
Born on June 26, 1873, at the district of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, the real name of Gauhar Jaan was Angelina Yeoward.
She was born to Armenian father William Robert Yeoward who worked as an engineer in an ice factory and mother Victoria Hemmings who was an Indian by birth and a noted dancer and singer of her time.
The Naming of Gauhar Jaan
How Miss Angelina Yeoward became Gauhar Jaan? There is an unfortunate story behind this incident.
The married life of Mrs. Victoria Hemmings did not work for a long and they decided to separate in 1879. After divorce mother of Angelina, Mrs. Victoria fell in love with a Muslim boy named Khurshid. She renounced her religion Christianity and embraced Islam after marrying him. Her name was changed to Malak Jaan and her daughter Miss Angelina Yeoward came to be known as Gauhar Jaan.
With the passage of time, Malka Jaan refined her talent of dancing and singing and became a famous exponent of Kathak dance and classical singing. Gauhar Jaan, the eldest daughter of Malka Jaan got trained through her mother and under the patronage of different famous Gurus of that era.
Gauhar Jaan became famous from her live performance at the royal court of Darbhanga Maharaj in 1887 at the just tender age of 13 yrs. and since then there was no turning back for her. She performed Dance Sequences at different places like Calcutta, Madras, Allahabad etc. She at times represented the cultural heritage of India in dance and singing.
Personal Life of Gauhar Jaan
Gauhar Jaan became a renowned Tawayaf of her time and earned respect as well as monetary benefits from various Rajgharanas and Zamindars. Gauhar Jaan is known to have had a relationship with Zamindar Nimai Sen of Calcutta and Amrut Vagal Nayak of Gujrat who was a famous actor of his time. It is said that Gauhar Jaan had married a person named Saiyad Gulam Abbas who was almost 10 yrs younger to her and was a tabla player. Her marriage did not work with him because he had a relationship with several other women.
Gauhar Jaan is famous in India as the First Recording Superstar whose songs were recorded by Graphophone India on HMV i.e His Master Voice. Her first song was recorded on November 8, 1902, and since then more than 500 songs were recorded in different languages ranging from Thumari, Bengali, Oriya, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Arabi, Farashi, Pashto, English, French, and some other languages.
During her last phase of life, she lived all alone and even her relatives did not care for her. She breathed her last on January 17, 1930.
Her Biography was written by Vikram Sampath after years of research, depicting her personal as well as public life, and is published by the name of “My name is Gauhar Jaan”.
Honored in Google Doodle on Her 145th Birth Anniversary
This year on her 145th birth ceremony, Google has celebrated her birthday by remembering her through their famous Doodle emblem.
You too can remember her by listening to her one of the famous song which is embedded below in Rag Darbari Ghoomar.