In the book it is written that on the day of Nath Utrai, Malka Jaan -the mother of Gauhar Jaan drank and got intoxicated, similalry her duaghter Gauhar Jaan was also given to drink, thus in that intoxicated state she was put into the bed with the Raja, who might have bidded highest. In the morning on seeing the Raja next to her daughter on the bed, she became angry. She sent daugther away to another city, where a still child as born to young Gauhar Jaan. That was a Trauma to her, a child/girl.
Similarly we saw in the film Umrao Jaan, the girl ameeran was kindnapped and was sold to a Bai ji of a Kotha. Smt Shaukat Azmi played that role of Bai ji with near perfection. The Umrao and the bilkis the daughter of Khanum also had nath utrai. The famous mujra (dil cheez kya jaan lijiye….) was performed by Umrao at that very ritual of Bilkis….
The famous freedom fighter the Azizan Bai of Kanpur, who was with the Peshwa at Bithoor and Nawab Ajimula (if i am correct?), was also, i think a girl which fell into hand of such Tawaif group. There were innumerable such incidence where little girls hailing from tawaif groups were sexually exploited by Men of all caste, creed, color, religion. In this work of “darkness” there was no barrior of religion or caste creed, natinality etc… there was just single minded approach by those men to get any girl…..to pawn upon…and this continued on for hundreds of years. In the day time all the MEN treated these girls and women of singing community as untouchable, but in evenings and in nights the all wanted to just go to bed with them.
Initially Gauhar Jaan, the child was sexualy assaulted by an elder MEN and then her lovers- those men whom she loved.. but at the end, her life was dedicated to the Music, She maintained a discipline and learnt the art from variuos MEN (ustads) and performed for MEN. But she was the one who made the music ALIVE today or kept alive for today…… She was the first artist to record a LP reocord of HMV or GTL record company in 1902. November.
She changed the history of Hindustani music in India, i think her liberal background at home was also one of the reason. The Janaki Bai of Allahabad was also a gifted child, i read somewhere her mother faced lot of troubles- but in those times life of a woman was terrible, It was beyond imagination how a single woman could have survived? Their lives were just like Hell. Even crime against women is subject of debate still in this century. Back then what could be said about their plight. This profesion and community of women gave shelter to many women, i think they were the great human biengs. However the kothas did exploited women but for cause- the survival.
From 1902 nothing stoped the Hindustani music from progressing and name of Gauhar Jaan will be written in golden words in HISTORY of music. Without her the music could not have been in the shape which we see today….The men singers did not sing for the record making companies…but Gauhar Jaan, who was full of self confidence did break away all the restriction and recorded for the company. Thus a music record was created for Hindustani Music and that too in a 3 minute. Whole of Raag daari was shrinked into a module of 3 minutes and yet it did not loose any of nuances of Hindustani sangeet.
In 1902 and that time Gauhar Jaan demanded Rs 3000 for a recording and most amazing thing was that company agreed to pay her the fees she demanded.
That times the record playing machine was sold at the rate of Rs 250/- a piece.
Gauhar Jaan was most versatile artist of her times. Her mother the Victoria later named as Malka Jaan was a women of art and literature also. She herself was renowned Poetess and published a colection of peoms in Urdu. To such mother was born Gauhar Jaan and became well convesent in Many languages including English and French… (as i have read) she was invited to sing at Delhi Durbar (may be in 1911??). It was great honour of that time that she was invited to sing for King…
Thumri, dadra, Chaiti, Kajri, Khayal, Drupad bandishes, bol banana she was well versed in Bhav batana also, which was prevalent form of dance while singing in a Mehfils. Bhav batana of Lucknow was famous may be due to the influence of Wajid Ali Shah. Gauhar Jaan got the chance to visit court of Wajid Ali when he was in exile at Matia Burj, calcutta. Her mother Malka Jaan became famous artist in the court of Nawab of Awadh at Matia Burj.
Gauhar Jaan had also learnt from Bindadin Mahraj of Lucknow. Thus she was a expert in Thumri singing as well as Kathak dance including bhav batana. That was prevalent that time in Mehfils. She was well versed in 20 Languages, she recorded in 20 languages. She sang in english and knew French as well.
The standards established by her are still very high. Most of the MEN got inspired to sing in those HMV records by her success only, initially all were hesitant to record their voices. This proves that Gauhar Jaan was ahead of her times.