Pandit Birju Maharaj dies at the age of 83 years

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Pandit Birju Maharaj dies at the age of 83 years

Kathak legend Pandit Birju Maharaj died at the age of 83 years old at his home in Delhi after suffering from a heart attack on Sunday. Pandit was the recipient of Padma Vibushan, the country’s second-highest civilian award. Fondly called Pandit Ji or Maharaj Ji by his followers and disciples was one of the nation’s best-known artists.

Before he became unconscious, he was playing with his grandsons late on Sunday night and his health suddenly deteriorated making him unconscious. He was then brought to the hospital where he was declared dead. He felt sudden breathlessness around midnight. He was sent to the hospital within 10 minutes but he could not be saved. Pandit Ji was suffering from a kidney ailment and was undergoing dialysis treatment. 

He was India’s leading Kathak exponent and was the guider of the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of the Lucknow style of Kathak. He breathed his last in Saket Hospital at New Delhi. The news of his demise was shared by his grandson Swaransh Mishra who left for the heavenly abode on January 17, 2022.

Pandit Ji was born on February 4, 1938, into a kathak revivalist family. His father died when he was nine years old and he was left under the care of his uncles. He was initially named Dukh Haran which later got changed to Brijmohan which is the shorter name for Brijmohan Nath Mishra, a synonym of Lord Krishna. He began performing at the mere age of 7 years old and traveled across the lengths of the nation along with his father. He was sent abroad to various countries including Russia, the United States, UAE, France to represent India.

Maharaj Ji was a descendent of the Maharaj family of Kathak dancers. The family includes his two uncles namely Shamhu Maharaj, Lachhu Maharaj, his father, and his guru Acchan Maharaj. The legend was also an excellent drummer and he could play all types of drums with ease and precision. He was fond of Tabla and Naal. 

He was considered a singer par excellence. He had an amazing command over Thumri, Bhajan, Ghazal, and Dadra. The master storyteller used to interlace his performances with the incidents from his life, which were narrated to bewitch the audience. A keen observer, he always had opinions on the daily happenings around him. He used to keep the people around him entertained with realistic mimicry and descriptions. 

Maharaj Ji was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award at the age of 28 and went on to receive many honorary awards in his career. He will be forever remembered by the Indians. He has left a legacy in the hearts of the people.

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