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Will govt keep its promise to Pt Birju Maharaj?

KATHAK MAESTRO Pandit Birju Maharaj is ?disappointed with Lucknow? but he ?won?t give up on Lucknow?! That?s how he reacted before HT Lucknow Live this Saturday, saying, ?When I go to places like London, Mumbai or Kolkata, I get students in hundreds unlike in Lucknow. There are just about 40 people who enlisted for my Kathak workship in Lucknow.? He added: ?Main Lucknow ki dhool se banaa hoon aur main Lucknow ko bahut kuch dena chahata hoon.

india Updated: May 21, 2006 00:17 IST

KATHAK MAESTRO Pandit Birju Maharaj is “disappointed with Lucknow” but he “won’t give up on Lucknow”!

That’s how he reacted before HT Lucknow Live this Saturday, saying, “When I go to places like London, Mumbai or Kolkata, I get students in hundreds unlike in Lucknow. There are just about 40 people who enlisted for my Kathak workship in Lucknow.” He added: “Main Lucknow ki dhool se banaa hoon aur main Lucknow ko bahut kuch dena chahata hoon. (I am made from the dust of Lucknow and I to want give Lucknow a lot). I want Lucknow to take as much as it can from me and for that, I will keep returning to Lucknow a hundred times.”

Pt Birju Maharaj, even at 68, is full of passion and enthusiasm and is conducting a special workshop to teach kathak in Lucknow.

Born in a family of dancers; Birju Maharaj is the torchbearer of the Kalka-Bindadin Gharana of Lucknow. He says, “I am here to make dance more beautiful. I am going to teach them ‘Angikam’. The five-day workshop will focus on the art of body movement with special significance to hand and eye co-ordination. And, his pupils are both learners and professionals that include Kathak teachers like Kumkum Dhar, Kapila Raj and Ruchi Khare. Madhukar Anand has all the way from Patiala to receive ‘taleem’ from Maharaj.

Pt Birju Maharaj, many years ago, had asked the then Chief Minister to get a Kathak Sansthan constructed at his ancestral house, Binda Din ki Deodhi in Ganeshganj, where his ancestor Bindadin Maharaj had performed and taught kathak. However, many years later, that promise remains to be fulfilled. He says, “I have repeatedly reminded the Government but no progress has been made.

We belong to the Lucknow Gharana and want to keep the art of my ancestors alive.”

But what are his expectations from Lucknow? “See, if we sow 100 seeds then, it is not necessary that all seeds reap fruit. Similarly, if we teach a 100 people this art, then at least some of them will grow up to become great nrityanganas.”

First Published: May 21, 2006 00:17 IST