Inspired by her martyred intellectual father Professor Rashidul Hasan, noted Tagore artiste Roquaiya Hasina Neely began learning music at the age of six. Though her father taught English literature in Dhaka University, he had a great penchant for Bengali literature and the creative works of Rabindranath Tagore in particular.
"My father was a life member of Visva Bharati University. I went with him to the University for several festivals, where I got close to legendary singers like Kanika Bandyopadhyay, Neelima Sen and Shanti Dev Ghosh. They inspired me to sing," says Neely.
In her early days in Birbhum, West Bengal, Neely had her initial musical lessons from Radhapada Sarker. Though she learnt Rabindra Sangeet for a few years at the Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA), in the pre-Liberation years, her music education was further refined under eminent teachers like Waheedul Haque, Abdul Ahad, Dr Sanjida Khatun and Zahidur Rahim of Chhayanaut just after the birth of Bangladesh.
Amongst the themes of Tagore's songs like Puja, Prem, Prokriti and compositions from the bard's plays like "Bhanushingher Padaboli", Neely loves to render songs that have melancholic shades.
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