She started learning Khayal, Thumri and Dadra from Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan. Her sister Mukhtar Begum would take her, a seven-year-old Farida, to the Khan’s place for regular riyaaz. Her family moved to Pakistan after partition of India in 1947.
Farida Khanum gave her first public concert in 1950 and then joined Radio Pakistan where she courted fame and fortune. She became a star when Pakistan’s president Ayub Khan invited her to a public recital in the 1960s.
Farida Khanum lives in Lahore, Pakistan. She has one son and five daughters. She lives with her second eldest daughter and her only son, his wife and children. Her eldest daughter lives with her husband and children in New York. Her fourth eldest daughter is a specialist in endocrinology and lives with her husband and children and her youngest daughter is a student.