The Dagar Gharana and Dagarvani Tradition
The Dagar family's contribution to the perpetuation and enrichment of this art, while preserving its original purity, has been so precious, and the fact that the history of this family can be traced back for 20 generations without a break is so unique, that the family can be said to represent a microcosm of the history of Indian classical music.
Dhrupad reached its apogee in the 16th century, during the reign of the Moghul emperor Akbar. At that time there were four Schools of Dhrupad, representing this art in all its diversity. Brij Chand Rajput was of Dagar lineage, so the school of Dhrupad that he headed was called Dagar Vani. The other three Vanis, Khandar, Nauvahar and Gobarhar. respectively, almost disappeared in the course of time, and only in the Dagar Vani has the pure tradition of Dhrupad been maintained and brought down to our day.
Until the 16th century the Dagars were Brahmins, but circumstances constrained their ancestor, Baba Gopal Das Pandey, to embrace Islam, and he came to be known as Baba Imam Khan Dagar . One of his two sons, Ustad Behram Khan Dagar, was the most famous and learned musician of his time, in the 18th and 19th centuries. During the 125 years of life that God granted him, he applied himself to the acquisition of a thorough knowledge of the Sanskrit sacred texts. He devoted the greater part of his life to the rigorous analysis of these texts in order to translate the formal musical rules into a pragmatic teaching method. He distilled the style of singing, the gayaki, to a degree of purity and clarity never known before, elaborating the alap and rendering singable the technical forms.