1840's? - 1923
The elder son on Mohammad Jan Khan and grand nephew of Behram Khan was appointed the principal musician of the Udaipur court by Maharana Sajjan Singh. He was reputed not only for his singing but also for his great knowledge. Musicologist V. N. Bhatkhande is said to have always made it a point to exclude Zakiruddin Khan from his criticism of musicians who lack knowledge of shastra.
Blessed with a powerful voice, and a vibrant personality that also came across in his singing, he would sometimes be mistaken for a maharaja of a princely state because of his regal sartorial style and bearing. In this portrait from the Pathuriaghata Rajbari, Calcutta, based on a photograph, he wears the typical Mewari turban of Udaipur and the distinctive dress - the safa.
His performance of Raga Megh at the 1916 Baroda music conference was followed by a thunderstorm that lasted a few hours, acording to Atiya Begum Fyzee-Rahmin who was present on the occasion, and attributes the occurence to his singing of the raga along the lines of the legends of singers like Tansen bringing forth rain with their singing.
Zakiruddin Khan often performed with his younger brother Allabande Khan, though they both also performed alone or with vocal support by their sons and nephews. Zakiruddin Khan also played the veena. He married the elder daughter of famed veena player Bande Ali Khan who bore him a son Ziauddin Khan. Zakiruddin Khan and others of his generation of his family as also Ziauddin and Nasiruddin Khan never used the title Dagar as a family name. The practice of using the name of the genre ( the Dagar bani or style of Dhrupad) as a family name was started by his nephew Rahimuddin Khan and later adopted by all members of the family.
Sociologist Dhurjati Prasad Mukerji writes of the singing of Zakiruddin, Allabande and Nasiruddin Khan -
"the greatest alapiyas came from the family of Zakaruddin, Allabande Khan and Nasiruddin Khan. Zakaruddin I heard once, but it was his brother Allabande Khan and nephew Nasiruddin Khan who were the doyens of alapiyas in my time. Their notes were accuracy itself. Their development of the raga was strictly orthodox, their voices exceedingly flexible and the raga-rupa perfectly delineated. They could create the atmosphere of the Darbar. Their music was oceanic, and those of us who stood on the shore were dragged in without knowing it. ... for sheer majesty and spaciousness modern India has not had anyone like these alapiyas. I am reminded of them whenever I hear the charge that Indian music knows of no training in voice production. Their gamaks alone could give the lie to it." (from Radio Sangeet Sammelan, 1955)
Review of Zakiruddin and Allabande Khan's performance from Report of 2nd All-India Conference Delhi 1918
(photo of portrait of Zakiruddin Khan courtesy Jayanta Nath Ghose, Pathuriaghata, Kolkata)
For more on Zakiruddin Khan and other musicians of his time with rare photographs see book Dhrupad of the Dagars, Conceptual Foundations and Contemporary Questions