Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar , A Tribute


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MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA           MAY 10 , 2013           11.55 P.M.

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Zia Fariduddin Dagar

15 June 1932 – May 8, 2013

I must state in the beginning that I am not an expert on Indian Classical Music , whether Hindustani or Karnatak . I am just a connoisseur , an ardent fan . I was introduced to Classical music by my friend Shri Lakshmi Kant Tiwari . When we both were living in Deoria , my native place , we used to meet almost every evening and talk about classical music , its various aspects and about various singers . He introduced me to the world of Pandit Onkar Nath Thakur , Pandit Bheem Sen Joshi , Pandit Jasraj , Pandit Rajan Mishra and Pandit Sajan Mishra and of course Dagar Brothers . He gave me cassettes of Pandit Onkar Nath Thakur and Dagar brothers . And thus a life-long addiction to Dhrupad started .

Dhrupad  is the oldest existing form of north Indian classical music (Hindustani classical music) . Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Dagar was the man responsible for the resurrection of Dhrupad in modern India . After his early and untimely demise , his sons Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar and Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar carried the flag forward and revived the Dhrupad tradition .

Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar was the one more torch-bearer of Dhrupad in the illustrious family of Dagars . He was the most influential Dhrupad vocalist in India after the senior Dagar Brothers ; Ustad Nasir Moinuddin Dagar & Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar.

He toured in India and abroad for the propagation of Dhrupad . He performed widely in India and abroad . By 1980, he had virtually settled down in Austria teaching Dhrupad in Austria and France. Once, during a visit to India, one of his disciples, the filmmaker, Mani Kaul came to him and pleaded with him to provide the background score for a film, The Cloud Door (1994) he was making on Madhya Pradesh. During the making of the film, they spent over two months in Madhya Pradesh . Later on he settled in Bhopal and taught at the Dhrupad Kendra, Bhopal, along with his elder brother, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar for 25 years . There he trained students like the Gundecha Brothers.

He was awarded the 1994 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Hindustani music-Vocal by Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama.

Padma Shri– India’s fourth highest civilian honor been conferred upon him in year 2012 – but he turned it down, saying the government did not care about his seniority as he was chosen for it after much younger Dhrupad singers were conferred the honour.

He also received the Tansen Samman from the Madhya Pradesh government and the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. In 2005, he was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the North American Dhrupad Association.

He was a distinguished guest faculty at ‘Dhrupad Sansar’, IIT Bombay for a span of 5 years.

Later on towards the fag-end of his career,  he was staying and teaching at the Dhrupad Gurukul near Panvel, which was built by his elder brother Ustad Z. M. Dagar and continued to perform in India and abroad untill his brief illness and death on 8th May 2013.

On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , which is known as Vidur’s Kreating Charakters  , I offer my heart-felt condolences on the sad demise of the titanic figure of Dhrupad tradition .

I am also grateful to my friend Shri Lakshmi Kant Tiwari for introducing me to the world of Dagar Brothers and Dhrupad .

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[ Some facts about his life has been taken from Wikipedia . I am grateful . ]

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