Ustads Saiduddin, Nasir Zahiruddin, Fahimuddin, Aminuddin, Zia Mohiuddin, Zia Fariduddin and Nasir Fayyazuddin in front of the dargah of the Sufi Saint Moinuddin Chisti in Ajmer, Rajastan >>

The late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar belong to the illustrious family of Dhrupad musicians who are responsible for keeping this ancient and noble art form alive. Their music is an epitome of the musical traditions of a family that is believed to have preserved and nurtured Dhrupad music for the last 19 generations. Sons of the late Ustad Ziauddin Khan Dagar, one of the most respected names in the history of Indian classical music and court musician of Udaipur, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar were taught Dhrupad style of vocal and instrumental (veena and sitar) music by their father. The late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin made many modifications to the instrument to bring out all the subtleties of Dhrupad gayaki (style) and also, was a great master of srutis or microtones.

Ustad Zia Fariduddin is a vocalist par excellence. He also mastered the art of srutis. His rendering of raga based on grama murchana scheme is legendary. His performance weaves magic and leaves audiences spellbound. He is currently the Director of the Dhrupad Centre at IIT, Bombay.

Brief History of the Dagar Family

The Dhrupad gharana (musical lineage) took firm roots under the able supervision of Ustad Behram Khan, who went to Jaipur and founded his gurukul.The greatness of his contribution is admitted by all.

Ustad Behram's father was Baba Gopal Das Pandey, who was a Pandey brahmin. Behram became a satshastri as the disciple of Baba Kalidas Paramahansa, who taught him Sanskrit and trained him in music. He spent the best part of his life of 120 years in establishing the purity of the gayaki not known before and in popularizing khayal along with Dhrupad. He was a superb teacher and some of his popular disciples were Alibaksh Fateh Ali, Gohki Bai, Kale Khan and Abdullah Khan. His elder brother Ustad Haidar Khan died at a young age. Ustad Behram taught music to his two sons Saddu Khan and Akbar Khan and also to his nephews Mohammed Ali Khan and Mohammed Jan Khan. Gifted with a long life, he also trained his grandson Pt. Enayet Khan and his nephews' sons Zakiruddin Khan and Allabande Khan. The entire credit for keeping alive and passing down to posterity the pure form of dagarvani goes to him. He passed away in Jaipur in 1877.

After his death his son, Saddu Khan, became the chief court musician of Udaipur. And the two sons of Haidar Khan also became renowned singers. Pandit Enayat, Saddu Khan's son, qualified as a satshastri and became a great composer and singer.

Mohammed Jan Khan had two illustrious sons, Ustad Zakiruddin Khan and Ustad Allabande Khan, who were trained by Baba Behram Khan and popularly known as Ram Lakshman for their excellent jugalbandi (duet). Zakiruddin was the premier court musician of Udaipur and Allabande that of Alwar.The legendary beenkar (player of the rudra veena) Ustad Bande Ali Khan was so impressed by the two brothers' music that he gave them his two daughters in marriage. Ustad Riazuddin Khan, son of Pt. Enayat Khan, was well versed in both theory and practice of music, had a gifted voice and was also a composer and poet.

Ustad Ziauddin Khan, the only son of Zakiruddin, succeeded his father as the premier court musician of Udaipur. He was both a great singer and skilled beenkar. Because of his unparalleled skill in layakari (composition with rhythm), he used to be called dhamarnath (master of the dhamar rhythm). Ustad Allabande Khan had four sons: Nasiruddin, Rahimuddin, Imamuddin and Husseinuddin. All of them became Ustads (master). Ustad Nasiruddin received his training from Pt. Enayat and from his uncle and his father for 20 years. He had a sweet and deep voice and became the court musician of Indore. He died at the age of 75. Ustad Rahimuddin Khan had an attractive voice and was well versed in Sanskrit and Persian. He was awarded the title of padmabhushan. Ustad Imuddin Khan had a gifted voice with a wide range and became the court musician of Udaipur. Ustad Husseinuddin, court musician at Alwar, reverted to Hinduism and named himself Tansen Pandey. His voice in the mandra saptak (high octave) was strikingly perspicuous.

The Dagar tradition lives on. The five Dagar brothers or cousins and some of their well-groomed disciples are carrying the rich tradition quite competently. The late Ustad Aminuddin Dagar, recipient of the padmabhushan (1986) along with his elder brother, the late Nasir Moinuddin, popularised the dagarvani not only in India but also in the West. The late Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar, the greatest exponent of rudra veena in the family, and his younger brother Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar, have added to the popularity by their global level concerts and workshops. No less commendable is the contribution of the other cousins: the late Ustads Nasir Zahiruddin and Nasir Faiyazuddin who lived in Delhi and were popularly known as the Dagar Brothers (junior).

Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar, who is a son of Ustad Rahimuddin Dagar, is a great scholar and performer of Dhrupad music and is very well versed in demonstrating the theoretical and practical aspects of Dhrupad. He is said to have a great collection of old Dhrupad compositions. His father's main interest was the nada yoga (the Yoga of Sound) aspect of Dhrupad, and he passed his deep knowledge of this science on to his son Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar, who is currently living in Delhi.

Ustad Hussein Saiduddin Dagar, son of Ustad Husseinuddin Dagar, lives in Pune and is another great Dhrupad singer. His soulful and melodious rendering of alap and Dhrupad is remarkable.

Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar
Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar
Dr. Ritwik Sanyal, Benares

Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and students in La Roche St. Secret, France, 1990
Uday Bhawalkar, Ustad Fariduddin Dagar, Gundecha Brothers
Ustad Fariduddin Dagar and Shanti, Bhopal 1997

Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar at the Dargah of Hazrat Inayat Khan, Nizamuddin, Delhi, 1997