Born into an aristocratic family, Feroza Begum was the daughter of Mohammad Ismail and Begum Kowkabunnesa, who took a liking to music quite early on. Being a prolific singer, she covered a wide range of genres including Islamic songs, Ghazals, Bhajans, contemporary and Nazrul Sangeet. As an apprentice of Kazi Nazrul Islam, she later focused exclusively on the legendary maestro's music and garnered appreciation from her mentor as well as listeners. Feroza Begum conveyed the works of the great poet with integrity, for which she received various prestigious awards in Bangladesh and beyond, including the Swadhinata Padak.
The third chapter of the 'Feroza Begum Memorial Gold Medal' was held yesterday at Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban auditorium at the Dhaka University premises. Based on her eminence, Dhaka University introduced the 'Feroza Begum Memorial Gold Medal' in 2016 to pay homage to the life and work of the artiste. A jury board selects a nationally recognised music artiste every year to be awarded with a gold medal and a remuneration of Tk1 lakh. In addition, a student of BA Honors from the Music Department of DU with the highest CGPA is also selected for a gold medal. Yesterday, Vice-Chancellor of Dhaka University Professor Dr Md Akhtaruzzaman, who was also the chief guest, handed over the 'Feroza Begum Memorial Gold Medal 2018'and a cheque to the internationally renowned artiste Runa Laila at the event. Urmi Ghosh received a bouquet as the best student from the Music Department. The VC thanked M Anis Ud Dowla, Chairman of the ACI Foundation for supporting the Feroza Begum Memorial Trust Fund and hoped that the next generation of music artistes would be inspired by this endeavor.
“Awards are always inspiring, but this one in particular, is rather prestigious to me because of the name 'Feroza Begum' attached to it. I am highly honoured to have received this award,” Runa Laila told the audience.
Shusmita Anis, who is a singer, a member of the ACI Foundation and the Managing Director of ACI Formulations Ltd told The Daily Star, “Our initiative is to revive the dedication amongst the artistes with which Feroza Begum adorned Nazrul Sangeet. So, we honour those who are worthy of acknowledgement.”
Professor Dr Abu Md Delwar Hossain, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Treasurer, Professor Dr Md Kamal Uddin, University of Dhaka, were present as special guests at the occasion, along with teachers, students, cultural activists, singers, poets and writers.