Pandit Birju Maharaj's passing is an irreparable loss to the art world: Narendra Modi

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#Kathak, #Narendra Modi, #Pandit Birju Maharaj, #Rajnath Singh, January 17, 2022

Pandit Birju Maharaj gave Indian dance art a special recognition across the world, tweeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday tweeted that he was deeply saddened by the death of Kathak exponent Pandit Birju Maharaj. The Padma Vibhushan awardee died of a suspected cardiac arrest in a New Delhi hospital early on Monday.

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“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,” Modi tweeted in Hindi.

भारतीय नृत्य कला को विश्वभर में विशिष्ट पहचान दिलाने वाले पंडित बिरजू महाराज जी के निधन से अत्यंत दुख हुआ है। उनका जाना संपूर्ण कला जगत के लिए एक अपूरणीय क्षति है। शोक की इस घड़ी में मेरी संवेदनाएं उनके परिजनों और प्रशंसकों के साथ हैं। ओम शांति! pic.twitter.com/PtqDkoe8kd

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) January 17, 2022

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called Birju Maharaj “a doyen of India’s art and culture”. “His passing away is a monumental loss to the world of performing arts. Condolences to his family and admirers,” Singh added.

Pandit Birju ji Maharaj was a doyen of India’s art and culture. He popularised the Lucknow gharana of Kathak dance form around the world.

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Deeply pained by his demise. His passing away is a monumental loss to the world of performing arts. Condolences to his family and admirers.

— Rajnath Singh (@rajnathsingh) January 17, 2022

The Kathak exponent, one of India’s best known artistes, had been suffering from a kidney ailment and was under dialysis treatment. While his cause of death is yet to be ascertained, granddaughter Ragini Maharaj told PTI the family suspects he died of a cardiac arrest.

She said that “Maharaj-ji”–as the maestro was popularly called–died surrounded by his family and disciples. “They were playing antakshari after dinner when he suddenly took ill,” she told PTI.

Ragini Maharaj added that Birju Maharaj had been 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 minutes, but he passed away,” she told news agency ANI.

Pandit Birju Maharaj would have turned 84 next month.

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