Siddheshwari was one of the best classical music singer, India ever had. Born in the period, when India was a colony of Britishers, yet she managed to express her talent of singing. Siddheshwari Devi’s life history is so interesting that director
even made an award-winning documentary on her name, “Siddheshwari.” When Siddheshwari was of 18 months, she lost her parents.
The Varanasi girl was then taking care by her maternal aunt, Rajeshwari Devi. Rajeshwari Devi was very cruel and rude with Siddheshwari. Rajeshwari used to force her for doing household chores. Kamleshwari Devi, daughter of Rajeshwari Devi, was a good friend of Siddheshwari.
The two girls did all chores together. Rajeshwari Devi made Kamleshwari learn music lessons from Siyaji Mishra. One day, while rehearsing, Kamleshwari was not able to sing a particular raag, properly, due to this her mother started beating her.
Siddheshwari, who was working in the kitchen, came running, leaving all the work behind, just to protect her weeping cousin Kamleshwari. Siddheshwari motivated Kamleshwari, by telling her that this tone is not that difficult to sing.
Siddheshwari gave a demo by singing that tone perfectly. This amazed everyone, especially Siyaji Mishra. Mishra got this much impressed that he asked Rajeshwari Devi for adopting Siddheshwari. Mishra and her wife had no children.
The childless couple was so happy with their new daughter, Siddheshwari. Mishra got Siddheshwari training from his musical mentors that included Dewas’s Rayab Ali Khan and Lahore’s Inayat Ali. Siddheshwari also got a chance to learn the skill of music from Bade Ramdas.
Siddheshwari was also called Maa (meaning mother) by her fans and followers. She used to sing mainly Thumri and Khyal raag. Siddheswari, also won the award of Padma Shri by the Government of India, in the late 1960s.
She also won Honorary Doctorate of Literature’s degree in 1973 by Ravindra Bharti Vishwavidyalaya in Calcutta, followed by Deshikottam degree by Vishwa Bharati Vishwavidyalaya. The Classical Maa, Siddheshwari, took her last breath on March 18, 1977.