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Janki Bai of Allahabad was a Hindustani classical singer and courtesan of great fame. Her parentage is rumoured to have been Muslim, but the name by which she was known was Hindu. She was known as chhappan chhuri (fifty six knives) because as a novice she was stabbed fifty six times by miscreants who wanted her to sing for them. It is not known exactly when or where this happened, but some sources say it was in Benares where she was on her way to the house of a notable to sing. Other accounts describe the incident as happening in Allahabad in a house by the Grand Trunk Road. Her guru was Moinuddin Khan. Her fans affectionately called her Bulbul. She excelled in thumri and trained many women singers in the art form. Every Dussera she would visit the mehfil of the Maharaja of Bettiah to sing for the occasion. She was also a regular performer for the Nawab of Patiala. The Rani of Jaunpur used to visit Allahabad every January to hear her sing.
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