Siddheswari Devi (1908–1976) was a Hindustani singer from Varanasi, India, known as Maa (mother). Born in 1908, she lost her parents early and was brought up by her aunt, the noted singer Rajeshwari Devi.
Despite living in a musical household, Siddheswari came to music by accident. Rajeshwari had arranged musical training for her own daughter, Kamleshwari, while Siddheswari would do small chores around the house. Once, while the noted sarangi player Siyaji Mishra was teaching Kamleshwari, she was unable to repeat the tappa that she was being taught. Rajeshwari ran out of patience, and started to cane Kamleshwari, who cried out for help.
The only person to help her was her close friend Siddheswari, who ran from the kitchen to hug her cousin, and took the thrashing on her own body. At this point, Siddheswari told her weeping cousin, “It’s not so difficult to sing what…
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