Akhtari Bai Faizabadi, also known as Begum Akhtar (October 7, 1914 – October 30, 1974), was a well known Indian singer of Ghazal, Dadra, and Thumri.
She received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for vocal music, and was awarded Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan (posthumously) by Govt. of India. She was given the title of Mallika-e-Ghazal (Queen of Ghazals
She gave her first performance at the age of 15.
Begum Akhtar's good looks and sensitive voice made her an ideal candidate for a film career in her early years. When she heard great musicians like Gauhar Jan and Malak Jan, however, she decided to forsake the glamour of the film world for a career in Indian classical music.
During her last concert in Ahmedabad she raised the pitch of her voice as she felt that her singing had not been as good as she had wanted it to be and she felt unwell. The additional demand and stress that she put herself under resulted in her falling ill and was rushed to the hospital.
She died on October 30, 1974 in the arms of Nilam Gamadia, her friend, who invited her to Ahmedabad, which has become her final performance.