Fahimuddin Dagar’s death ends chapter in Indian music (Obituary)

July 29th, 2011 - 3:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 29 (IANS) Indian classical music exponent and descendant of the guru of legendary musician Tansen, the late Ustad Rahim Fahimudddin Dagar, kept the historic legacy of Dhrupad alive with unforgettable performances spanning more than six decades.

Fahimudddin, who died Wednesday at the age of 84, and his illustrious clan - the Dhrupad musicians - were instrumental in taking Dhrupad, one of the oldest forms of Indian music, to younger audiences across the country and abroad.

Son of Ustad Rahimuddin Dagar, Fahimudddin was born in Alwar, Rajasthan in 1927.

He was initiated into music by his uncles Ziauddin Khan Dagar, Ustad Hussainuddin Khan Dagar (known as Tansen Pandey) and Ustad Imaumddin Khan Dagar. He learnt Sanskrit from his father as well as instructor Giridharilal Shastri. His uncle Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Dagar tied the sacred thread -genda- on him to allow him the rite of passage into the Dagar Dhrupad gharana.

He spent 35 years training in classical music and 12 years studying the rudra veena.

Fahimuddin loved children and the company of pets. “At home, he would usually laugh and spend time with his grand children and play with his pet cats,” a family member recalled.

He moved out of Alwar in his early youth and lived in Delhi. Later, he located to a government apartment at Sector 12 in R.K. Puram.

The maestro was the driving force behind the SPIC-MACAY classical music movement to promote traditional Indian music among the Gen Next and Gen Y.

In his peer group, the ‘ustad’ was known for expansive nature and his erudition.

Fahimudddin’s forte was his spontaneous and richly textured ‘alaap’ - the melodious and free-wheeling introduction to the core symphony of the raga. His repertoire was a heritage booty with some of the compositions dating back to the 12th and 13th country.

Fahimudddin was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Ratan Puraskar, Meyar Foundation award, Kalidas Samman, Ustad Hafiz Ali Khan award, Sahitya Kala Parishad award and the Nada Lifetime Achievement award.

The Dagarvani, a particular style of music that the Dagar family popularised, was an innovation of the alaap and brought to play every note in the ‘raga’ in all the three registers. There was a feeling of expansiveness to the notes, which were divided into several microtones called ‘ananta sruti’.

Known for the power and spontaneity of his alaap, Fahimudddin’s skill carried him to global audiences at a time when Indian music was just becoming popular internationally.

The maestro said earlier: “In the beginning, there were four forms - ‘chhanda’, ‘prabandha’, ‘dhruva’ and ‘matha’…These then gave way to four styles - ‘dhadhoo roop’, ‘miras roop’ and ‘jog roop’. These styles later gave way to ‘banis’ - ‘dagar bani (from which the lineage of the musician draws its name)’, ‘khandar bani’, ‘nauhar bani’ and ‘gauhar bani’.”

“The development and continuous additions and modifications were made by legendary sages like Nayak Gopal, Nayak Baiju and Swami Haridas Dagar. One of the most loyal votary of the ‘gayaki’ was Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalior,” he said in an interview.

“Our ancestor was Swami Haridas Dagar, who was also the guru of Tansen,” Fahimudddin said.

The Dhrupad gharana was founded by Ustad Bairam Khan, a north Indian Brahmin who converted to Islam.

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