An era has ended with the passing away of Ustad Rahim Fahimmuddin Dagar. Artistes of his times like Pt. Mallikarjun Mansur , Smt. Gangubai Hangal, Ustad Bismillah Khan, Pt. Ram Chatur Mallicik, Ustad Nasir Aminuddin Dagar, Ustad Asad Ali Khan & other’s used music to transcend the form. They had reached a stage when they had very few desires left. I remember visiting Pt. Ram Chatur Mallk’s residence in Darbhanga, Ustad Bismillah Khan’s barsati room in Varanasi & Smt. Gangubai Hangal’s little house in Dharwad. The common factor was the simplicity and bare minimum of creature comforts with which they seemed perfectly satisfied. Despite having very little, one did not get the faintest impression that they had missed out on anything in life.
Fahimsahib (as he was endearingly called) lived in a small flat in R.K. Puram. He seemed quite content living there with his Begum Sahiba. He was one of the last great musicians who understood Dhrupad intellectually & through it entered the spiritual domain. He would often say that the characteristics of a great musician was that he would have to process eight channels in parallel and then rise above them. He had to be Swaratmak, Ragatmak, Layaatmak, Taalatmak, Shabdatmak, Varnatmak, Bhavatmak and Rasatmak and also understand that finally Naad was Brahma. In fact he often ended a piece with the words ‘Naad Brahma’. His great father Ustad Rahimuddin Dagar often used to say “Jiska Iman Sacha Uska Swar Sachaa” (“One whose faith is true, his note will be true.”)
Entertainment has become a very big industry taking up a large portion of people’s lives. Even programs that have been developed with the inherent objective of elevating us are either mutating to become more acceptable or dying a slow death. Our classical music & Dhrupad, in particular, is one such casualty. Very few musicians have been able to retain that very special quality of deep introspection reflected through their music & Ustad Fahimuddin Dagar was one of them.