Author - ITCSRA
The Dagar Gharana took firm roots under the adept supervision of Ustad Behram Khan (1753-1878), who was associated with the royal court of Jaipur. Ustad Behram's father was Baba Gopal Das Pandey who was ostracized by his fellow brahmins for having chewed a pan offered to him by the then Mughal ruler in Delhi, Muhammad Shah Rangile, for his excellent rendition of Dhrupad. Haider and Behram were his two sons.
Haider Khan died early while Behram Khan spent the best part of his long life in establishing the purity of the gayaki not known before. The entire credit for keeping alive and passing down to posterity the pure form of dagarvani goes to him. A superb teacher, his disciples included his sons, Haider Khan’s sons and their sons. Particularly famous and well known for their jugalbandhi (duet) performances were Zakiruddin Khan (1840-1926) and Allabande Khan (1845-1927), the sons of his two nephews.
The main representatives of the present-day Dagar gharana are the descendants of Ustad Zakiruddin Khan as well as of Ustad Allabande Khan’s four sons, Nasiruddin, Rahimuddin, Imamuddin and Husseinuddin: all of them extremely gifted and highly respected Dhrupad musicians. Nasir Moinuddin Dagar (1919-1966) and Nasir Aminuddin Dagar (1923-2000), now referred to as the Senior Dagar Brothers, were the elder sons of Nasiruddin and grandsons of Allabande Khan. Their jugalbandhi captivated audiences all over India and even in Europe bringing about a major revival of the dying genre. After the death of Moinuddin, their younger brothers, Nasir Zaheeruddin (1932-1994) and Nasir Fayyazuddin (1934-1989) also gained fame as a duo. Major contributions to the upkeep of this tradition also came from the sons of Rahimuddin and Husseinuddin, Rahim Fahimuddin (b. 1927) and Hussein Sayeeduddin respectively, as well as the grandsons of Zakiruddin Khan, Ustad Zia Mohiuddin (1929-1990 - who revived the majestic Rudra Veena as a concert instrument) and Zia Fariduddin (b. 1932). The rich heritage of the Dagar tradition lives on in the remaining Dagar brothers and their sons and well-groomed disciples from outside the family.
The Dagarbani dhrupad rendition is characterized by meditative and leisurely development of alap. The purity of a raga is usually maintained all through and in spite of intricate rhythmic patterns, there is a profound sense of devotion.