Since the time senior Dhrupad singer Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar, who was known for his dhrupad style of singing and voice culture in the Indian classical music, shifted to Pune in the year 1986, he changed his house more than 10 times. The singer, the youngest of the famous Dagar Brothers, passed away on Sunday night (around 11 pm), with his long-cherished wish of owning a house unfulfilled, at 78. Dagar had been hospitalised at the MJM Hospital for treatment of kidney infection for the past two months.
Dagar’s son, Nafeesuddin, also a dhrupad singer, says, “My father shifted from Rajasthan to Pune in 1986. He had applied for a house under the chief minister quota, which was sanctioned by the state government in 1989. However, the state government asked him to get a certificate from the Ministry of Cultural Affairs that proved that he was an artiste. It was an insult to his talent. It’s sad that after giving life to this art and making a name in this field, he was asked to prove that he was an artiste. Even a foreign country wouldn’t have asked him for such a certificate. He just tore all the documents and application in anger.” The son added that in the later years, he and his father wrote to a number of government officials and politicians to help them with a house, but the efforts yielded no efforts. Though the family now stays near Kakde City in Karvenagar area, they changed the house every two-three years due to financial constraints in the past.
Dagar belonged to the 19th generation of the renowned Dagar family or Dagar Gharana. Born in Alwar, Rajasthan, Dagar began learning music at the age of six from his father Ustad Hussainuddin Khan Dagar, followed by his uncle Late Padmabhushan Ustad Rahimuddin Khan Dagar and his elder brothers. Among the many prestigious music festivals where he performed include Sawai Gandharva Mahotsav, Tansen Samaroh, Dhrupad Mela, Dhrupad Samaroh, Dhamar Samaroh and Dagar Saptak, among others. He often travelled abroad for performances and commanded huge love and respect from classical music enthusiasts. He also regularly conducted lecture demonstrations and workshops on dhrupad in the country as well as abroad. While he performed in Holland on April 28 this year, his recent performance in Paris took place on June 2. “Although he wasn’t in the best of his health, the musicians get the strength to fight all odds through music,” said Nafeesuddin.
Pune-based classical music singer Saniya Patankar, who trained under Dagar from 1994 to 2001, says that although she sings khayal, she used to go to him for voice training. “Everything in classical music comes from dhrupad gayaki. No one could match the skill Ustadji had as far as rendering of ragas with purity is concerned. I have seen audience in tears when Ustadji would sing ragas like Adbhut Kalyan, Miyan Malhar, Todi etc. However, despite being a gifted artiste, he did not get the respect and recognition that he deserved. His dream was to have his own house, which ironically remained unfulfilled till his death,” says Patankar.
“In case the government now wakes up and decides to fulfill his dream, we would want a house in Rajasthan where my father was born, brought up and began his musical journey,” says Nafeesuddin.