The end of a musical legacy
With the demise of Ustad Hussain Sayeeduddin Dagar, the venerable Dhrupad tradition of Hindustani classical music has come to a sad end. Known affectionately to his legions of disciples and admirers as 'Saeed Bhai', the maestro was the youngest among the eight famous Dagar brothers – who had mastered all exponents of the ancient, complex and elaborate Dhrupad tradition. An ancient form of classical singing, Dhrupad has its roots in Vedic hymns. Practitioners today owe it to the Dagarvani that has preserved the austere form, despite losing out in popularity to the faster-paced and ornamented Khyal and Thumri. The renowned brothers were the grandsons of the legendary Zakiruddin and Allabande Khan Dagar, and the entire family is frequently credited with being the curators who preserved the oldest known form of North Indian classical music from which much of the extant Indian classical music is said to have been derived. Saeed Bhai came to Pune in 1984 and had been residing in the city's bustling Karvenagar-Kothrud area, staying at a number of houses for several years as he awaited the State government to allot him a permanent one. He frequently visited Benares to grace the Dhrupad festival held there. Dhrupad - a Sanskrit portmanteau of Dhruva (immovable) and Pad (verse) has its roots since ancient times, mentioned as early as the 3rd Century B.C. in the Natyashastra.