SPIC MACAY Presents Memorial meeting - Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar
Fahimji - as he was fondly known was a colossal storehouse of compositions on Durga, Shiva, Ganesha and other deities and a treasure trove of music literature. Fahimji was where spirituality and art met - and the sacred, secular character of Hindustani music and religiosity converged.
The picture frame of Mecca Sharif hung on the wall over his head, there was something very surreal about the way he would sing his favourite Baghambar Ambar Trishul Dharani (a compostion dedicated to Durga describing her own grace and the gait of her gorgeous lion) while fixing the tanpura zawahri, plucking pieces of thread to tune his tanpura at his riyaz room. He would say, 'Ab duniya ko kaun samjhaye, sab dharm ke chakkar mein pade hain. My ancestors were all Hindus. Girdhari Nath Pande, the foremost in the family tree was a musician at Babar's court. His sons learnt from Swami Haridas. They were musicians at Akbar's court. They fell under the influence of Sufism and were renamed. The connections between the two spiritual thoughts influenced our music.'
Born in Alwar, Rajasthan in 1927, Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar was tied the ganda - the sacred thread by his uncle Ustad Nasiruddin Khan Dagar. His father Allabande Ustad Rahimuddin Khan Dagar taught him for 35 years and his uncle Ustad Ziauddin Khan Dagar taught him the rudra veena for 12 years. Among the Dagars, Fahimji was the senior most.
Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar, the Dhrupad exponent remembers him as the granddad of not only the Dagar family but that of Dhrupad and Khayal as well. He says, 'His passing away is a loss to the entire music fraternity and not just the Dagars. He was a treasure of knowledge. Plus, he was loved by all. At times, when he would come home, he would have so many people greeting him that he would get tired. He would say, 'Haan adaab ho gaya, chalo chalo'.'
When relaxing at home, Fahimji would usually have his grandchildren giving him company, playing indoor games and cats cozying into his feet.
Spic Macay's much loved grand dad would usually be given the task of helping young minds develop a liking for Dhrupad - the father of Khayal singing. At his sessions at Spic Macay conventions, where he was a regular, Fahimji would sit drawing the uninitiated ones into Nad Yog - breaking up its meaning, telling students how they could practically achieve it.