She started learning Khayal from her sister Mukhtar Begum at age seven and later learnt classical music from Ustad Ashiq Ali Khan. Her sister Mukhtar Begum would take her, a seven-year-old Farida, to Khan’s place for riyaaz. Her family migrated 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 ’60s.
Farida Khanum lives in Lahore, Pakistan. She has one son and five daughters. She lives with her second oldest daughter, and her only son, his wife and children. One of her daughters lives with her husband and children in New York, another lives in Canada . One of her daughters is a specialist in endocrinology currently working in Services Hospital, Lahore and lives with her husband and children and the other is a student.