Zia Fariduddin Dagar

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Zia Fariduddin Dagar
Born (1932-06-15)15 June 1932
Origin Udaipur, Rajasthan
Died 8 May 2013 (aged 80)
Genres Dhrupad, Hindustani classical music
Occupation(s) vocalist

Zia Fariduddin Dagar (15 June 1932 – 8 May 2013) was an Indian classical vocalist belonging to the Dhrupad tradition, the oldest existing form of north Indian classical music (Hindustani classical music).[1][2] He is a part of the Dagar family of musicians.[3][4] He taught at the Dhrupad Kendra in Bhopal with his elder brother Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar. He also taught as a visiting professor up to the time of the Babri Mosque riots. After the riots, he decided to live at the gurukul of his brother Zia Mohiuddin Dagar at Palaspe near Panvel.[5]

He was awarded the 1994 Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in Hindustani music-Vocal by Sangeet Natak Akademi.[6] He was offered Padma Shri, in the 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.

Early life and training[edit]

He was born in Udaipur, Rajasthan, where his father, the great Ustad Ziauddin Khansahib, was the court musician for Maharana Bhupal Singh of Udaipur. He was taught Dhrupad vocal and veena by his father. After his father’s demise, he continued learning under his elder brother, Late Ustad Z M Dagar.[5]

Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar represented the 19th generation of the musical tradition of the Dagar family that is believed to have preserved and nurtured Dhrupad for 20 generations.[citation needed]


Ustad Zia Fariduddin Dagar has done a lot for popularizing dhrupad music by his numerous concerts and workshops. He has performed widely in India and abroad, and 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.[citation needed]

He has a remarkable command over microtones (swara-bheda) and various gamakas, and is noted for his gradual development of alap through vilambit, madhya and drut laya (slow, medium and fast tempo).[citation needed]

He was the most influential dhrupad vocalist in India after the senior Dagar Brothers (Ustads N. Moinuddin & N. Aminuddin Dagar).[citation needed]

By 1980, he had virtually settled down in Austria where he taught at the conservatory of Innsbruck teaching Dhrupad in Austria and France (mainly Paris). 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) [7][8] he was making on Madhya Pradesh. During the making of the film, they spent over two months in Madhya Pradesh, a lot of time in Bhopal. In those days, Shri Arjun Singh was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. Cultural development was one of his passions. It is because of him that the magnificent Bharat Bhavan cultural center came up in Bhopal. At that time, the Secretary to the Department of Culture in Madhya Pradesh was Ashok Vajpayee. Vajpayee offered to start a government supported school for Dhrupad in Bhopal. Zia Fariduddin agreed to move back to India and to take charge as the teacher at this school. He taught dhrupad for 25 years at this Dhrupad Kendra, under the Ustad Allauddin Khan Music Academy, Bhopal, to students like the Gundecha Brothers and Uday Bhawalkar.[5]

He was a distinguished guest faculty at 'Dhrupad Sansar', IIT Bombay for a span of 5 years. Dhrupad Sansar was started under the Cell for Human Values to create an appreciation about Indian Classical Arts and Culture among staff and students of the institution.

He was staying and teaching at the Dhrupad Gurukul near Panvel, which was built by his elder brother Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar and continued to perform in India and abroad until his brief illness and death on 8 May 2013.[citation needed]


His students include Ritwik Sanyal, Pushparaj Koshti, the Gundecha Brothers, Uday Bhawalkar, Sombala Satle Kumar, Marianne Svasek, Nirmalya Dey, and his nephew Mohi Baha'ud-din.


Zia Mohiuddin Dagar / Zia Fariduddin Dagar [9]

  • Chandrakauns (Moses Church, Amsterdam 1985) (Ragini Sutra, RS 200202, 2002)
  • Malkauns (Bombay 1968, rudra veen/vocal jugalbandi) (Country & Eastern, CE 02, 2005)


External links[edit]