Renowned Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj died in Delhi on Sunday after suffering a heart attack, reported DD News. He was 83.
Birju Maharaj was diagnosed with a kidney disease a few days ago and had been on dialysis, according to NDTV.
Birju Maharaj’s granddaughter Ragini Maharaj said that the veteran had felt sudden breathlessness at around 12.15-12.30 am. He was brought to the hospital within 10 mins but he died, she told ANI.
Born as Brij Mohan Nath Mishra on February 4, 1937, he grew up in a well-known family of Kathak dancers, according to the Hindustan Times. His father, Achchan Maharaj, and uncles Shambhu and Lachchu Maharaj were also Kathak dancers.
The dance veteran began performing as a child alongside his father and became a guru (Maharaj) in his teens. He also performed in the court of the Rampur nawab.
At the age of 28, he won the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second-highest civil honour, in 1986.
‘Irreparable loss to the entire art world’: PM Modi
Tributes poured in from across the country on the dance veteran’s demise.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Birju Maharaj’s death an “irreparable loss to the entire art world” and expressed his condolences to his family and fans.
President Ram Nath Kovind said the dancer’s death leaves “a deep void in the Indian music and cultural space”. In a tweet, Kovind said that Birju Maharaj was an an icon who made “unparalleled contribution to popularise Kathak globally”.
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said he was “deeply saddened” by the death of the Kathak dancer.
“The world renowned Kathak exponent with his unique style was an institution and an inspiration across the globe,” Naidu tweeted. “His death is a huge loss to the world of performing arts.”
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi offered his condolences to the dancer’s family and friends. “His contribution to the field of Indian classical dance is unparalleled and he will be remembered for it,” Gandhi tweeted.
Actor Hema Malini tweeted: “The nation mourns the passing of a true legend, Shri Birju Maharaj,Kathak exponent par excellence. His ghungroos were on his ankles till he breathed his last.I always admired and respected him as a giant of the medium of Kathak & will miss his presence on the firmament of dance.”
Sarod player Amjad Ali Khan said Birju Maharaj’s death was a personal loss to him. “He was loved immensely by my family and his memories live in our hearts forever,” Khan tweeted. “The heavens will dance for him today and everyday.”
Here are more reaction’s on the Kathak dancer’s death.