Very few people leave an indelible impression in our lives through a personality that is forceful, yet amiable, dominant yet graceful and, principled yet flexible. Such a personality was Vidushi Dipali Nag. In those days when women singers from cultivated homes were almost a rarity, she stood out as a source of inspiration because of her entry as an educated girl into the world of true professionals, pioneering the spread of Classical and semi-classical music among the ladies.
Dipali Nag of the Agra gharana set standards that most would find hard to match. Born on February 22, 1922 at Darjeeling, she completed her MA in English Literature and studied Western music at Trinity College. A Postgraduate in English, Dipali Nag took to Hindustani Classical Music at an early age and received training from eminent musicians like Ustad(s) Faiyaz Khan, Basheer Khan and Tassaduq Hussain Khan, all of Agra gharana.
She started broadcasting from All India Radio in 1939 and also with HMV and other recording companies in the same year. She was a regular khayal performer at music conferences of yore all over India and on AIR. Since she developed a love for Raag-based Bengali songs also, she recorded a number of such compositions, which became immensely popular. She remains as the first lady of Raagpradhan.
She was about twenty years old when she married Dr. B. D. Nag Chaudhuri, an eminent scientist and the Scientific Advisor to Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister of India. Dr Nag Chaudhuri later became Chairman of ITC-SRA’s Scientific Advisory Board.
A versatile person, Dipali Nag authored books and articles that earned her great renown, delivered lectures in different parts of the globe and participated in numerous concerts. She received numerous awards from prestigious institutions and was an important member of reputed Universities and Central Selection Committees. Head of the Scientific Research Academy, Kolkata, from 1979, she later became the Advisor to the Research Department, a position that she held till the very end. When it came to organizing a Seminar or a Workshop or a Music Conference, Dipalidi, as she was fondly known as, was the central figure for proper planning and immaculate execution.
Dipali Nag breathed her last on Sunday, 20 December, 2009, at the age of 87 years. She was in Gandhinagar, Gujarat at her son`s residence, at the time of her death.