New Delhi, Jan 17: Kathak maestro Pandit Birju Maharaj has passed away at his residence at the age of 83. Pandit Birju Maharaj had suffered a heart attack in the wee hours of Monday. His grandson Swaransh Mishra, too, shared the unfortunate news on his social media.
"With profound grief and sorrow we inform the sad and untimely demise of our most beloved member of the family, Pt. Birju Maharaj Ji. The noble soul left for his heavenly abode on 17th Jan 2022. Pray for the departed soul.. Grief-stricken: Maharaj family," a note read on Swaransh's Instagram account.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also shared a message of condolence on Twitter. He wrote, “Deeply saddened by the demise of Pandit Birju Maharaj ji, who gave Indian dance art a special recognition across the world. His passing is an irreparable loss to the entire art world. My condolences to his family and fans in this hour of grief. om Shanti!”
While speaking about the matter, his granddaughter Ragini Maharaj informed, “He was under treatment for the past month. He had sudden breathlessness at around 12:15-12:30 am last night; we brought him to the hospital within 10 mins, but he passed away.”
Born on February 4, 1937, in the Allahabad district of Uttar Pradesh, Pandit Birju Maharaj belonged to a prominent Kathak dancing family. He started out as a child performer alongside his father and became a Maharaj in his teenage years.
Later, he received several awards during his lifetime for his contribution to the field of performing arts. At the age of 28, he was bestowed with the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
Apart from being a renowned Kathak dancer, Pandit Birju Maharaj was also a well-known classical singer and had lent his voice to several films. For his remarkable contribution, the government of India had honoured him with the country's second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan, in 1986.