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Kathak legend Birju Maharaj passes away

Published: 24th Jan, 2022

Context

Legendary Kathak dancer Brijmohan Mishra popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj passed away.

About

Who was Pandit Birju Maharaj?

    • Birju Maharaj (1938-2022) was a leading exponent and torch-bearer of Kathak dance form. 
    • He was a wonderful singer with a strong grip over Thumri, Dadra, Bhajan and Ghazals. 
    • He gave his first performance at the age of seven. Pandit Birju Maharaj is not only a Kathak dancer but also a sensitive poet and captivating orator.
  • Pandit Birju Maharaj was an exponent of the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow. Pandit Birju Maharaj received India's second-highest civil honour, the Padma Vibhushan, in 1984 for his contributions in the field of dance.
  • Awards: Padma Vibhushan, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Kalidas Samman, National Film Award for Best Choreography, Filmfare Award

Important facts about Kathak dance form

    • Kathak is a major Indian dance which originates from the northern part of India. It is one of six Indian classical dance forms. 
      • Others are: Bharatanatyam, Kathakali, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Odissi.
    • Kathak comes from the word Katha which means story.
    • This form of dance has its origins to the time of the bards who used to occupy the ancient part of North India. Kathak in those days were the storytellers. 
    • Gradually the 16th century saw the performance being promoted to another art with the introduction of the Persian and Central Asian kind of dance forms in it. These originated from the era of the Mughals and thus the Kathak dance came to be.
    • Kathak dance has three major important Gharanas – 
  • the Jaipur Gharana
  • the Lucknow and Banaras Gharana
  • the Rajgarh Gharana
  • The Gharana of Lucknow and Banaras was found in the Kachwaha Rajput king’s courts and also in the kingdoms of the Nawab of Varanasi, Oudh, etc. the Rajgarh Gharana is a merged version of the techniques from the other two Gharanas.

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