Saturday , September 24 2022
Zia Mohiuddin Dagar

Usatd Zia Mohiuddin Dagar: A Dream that Dhrupad Once Had

A question to all of you…

Name the musician, whose 19 generations incessantly are being serving Indian Classical music.Name the musician, who was one of the 19th generations of dhrupad musicians.Yes, you are correct…I’m talking about Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar or Z. M. Dagar.

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar


He was born on the 14th March 1929 in Udaipur (Rajasthan). His first guru, his father Ustad Ziauddin Khan Dagar, was a court musician for the princely state of Udaipur. With the traditional rigorous training under him, Zia Mohiuddin Dagar attained skills in both the vocals and in the rudra veena. The stringed instrument of the rudra veena was probably played for the first time in public, by Ustad Zia Mohiuddin in his first performance at the age of only 16.

His conservative father didn’t allow him to change the structure of the veena. So, after father’s death, Zia Mohiuddin Dagar changed the instrument to make it ready for solo performances. To create rich sound and to give sustainability to the musical notes, he modified it into a larger bass instrument, which also is called as the ‘Dagar Veena’ as after his name. However, these changes made the instrument very heavy and so he adopted the Southern style of sitting to play it, with one gourd on the ground and one on his left knee. Thus, he has the most vital role for making the rudra veena as a solo concert instrument.

Zia Mohiuddin Dagar was famous for his unique style, with which he would slowly develop ragaas, with the company of only the tanpura.

In the post independence era, like the other princely states, Dagar family’s shelter Udaipur too was abolished. This compelled the family to relocate to Mumbai, where they had to work even in workshops and selling bakery items. On the other hand, they had rare opportunities to play their instruments for movie compositions that would come to them sporadically.  See ‘how the destiny plays her role! The family that had the history of 19 generations in dhrupad music hadn’t even a tanpura, sitar, or veena in those days.

Like him, his younger brother, Ustad Zia Fariddudin Dagar, is a classical singer and teacher, and son, Bahauddin Mohiuddin Dagar too has the same traits as a veena player.

However, later he became a visiting professor with the American Society for Eastern Arts in Berkeley, California and Wesleyan University, Rotterdam Music Conservatory, and the University of Washington, Seattle.

 Usatd Zia Mohiuddin Dagar
Usatd Zia Mohiuddin Dagar

Like the most of the Indian Classical musicians, he had his good days later in life, when he bagged awards like the Kalidas Samman, the Sangeet Natak Academy Award, the Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Academy award, and the Maharana Kumbha award.

‘Dhrupad Gurukul’ in which a few selected disciples could stay with the guru, to be trained in the ‘Guru-Shishya’ tradition, was established in 1982 at Palaspa (a small village near Panvel, Mumbai). It was Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar’s dream for at least twenty years, for which he had invested time and all his efforts.

Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar died on 28 September 1990.


Ustad Zia Mohiuddin Dagar – Raag Yaman, Alap part 4

About Kuldeep Thopate

Hello Classicals, Welcome on Swarmanttra! Basically I am from engineering background but hardcore classical lover. Due to madness about classical music I try to be connect with same in various mediums, like attending concerts,endlessly reading about it,learning Mridunga,collecting records and many more other things. During these activities I gather many information about Indian music. Through "Swarmanttra" I will trying to share it with all of you. Hope you will like all this stuffs.

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  1. Thank you for the great service you are providing.
    I want to get all cd’s and lp’s in good condition by Zia Mohiuddin Daggar can anyone help please.i am happy to pay for the help.I am based in thailand.
    Thank you and warm regards

  2. Anny luck with the cd’s ?
    Reinhart frais

  3. Thankyou for this article

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