Legendary Kathak dancer, Birju Maharaj dies at 83

Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj died at his residence in Delhi in the early hours of Monday.

The Kathak legend, one of India’s best-known artists, had been undergoing kidney disease and was under dialysis treatment. He perhaps died of a cardiac arrest, his granddaughter said to PTI. “We took him to the hospital immediately but we could not save him,” she told.

The 83-year-old & recipient of the country’s second-highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan, Birju Maharaj was born as Brij Mohan Nath Mishra on February 4, 1937, in a well-known family of Kathak dancers. Pandit Birju Maharaj got several applauds during his lifetime. While he was generously known as a Kathak dancer, he was an equally prolific singer, poet, and painter.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his condolences to the family and lovers of the Kathak legend. On Twitter, Modi penned, “Deeply saddened by the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj Ji, who gave Indian dance forms a special recognition across the world. His passing is an irreparable loss to the entire world of art. My condolences to his family and fans in this hour of grief.”

 

However, during an interview with The Indian Express last year, he had told: “I express in the best way I feel inspired to, and am blessed to have been able to wear these different hats.” He added, “I just see this as different expressions of my art. An artist expresses his deepest emotions through his art, be it dance, music, or visual art forms. I express in the best way I feel inspired to and am blessed to have been able to wear these different hats of a dancer, singer, poet, and painter. It just comes to me naturally and is effortless. I am just the channel through which all this flows.”