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Old clip of Pandit Birju Maharaj touching feet of student resurfaces

The short clip shows the revered Kathak guru giving the girl his blessings first with a tika on her forehead and then hands her a set of ghungroos or anklets worn by dancers during performances.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: January 19, 2022 1:38:03 pm
kathak, birju maharaj, birju maharaj touching feet, birju maharaj death, indian expressLegendary Kathak dancer Birju Maharaj passed away at the age of 83 on Monday.

Pandit Birju Maharaj, the Kathak legend who passed away on Monday after a heart attack, has left an irreplaceable void in the world of art. As tributes poured in from all quarters, an old clip of Maharaj, often fondly addressed as ‘guruji’, is going viral.

A Twitter user shared the footage showing the maestro touching the feet of a little girl. “Great respect to beloved #BirjuMaharaj ji. You and #Kathak aren’t two different things to me (sic),” Sarvan_K86 tweeted.

The short clip shows the revered Kathak guru giving the girl his blessings first with a tika on her forehead and then hands her a set of ghungroos or anklets worn by dancers during performances. During the ritual, he is seen seeking blessing from the anklets and then asks the girl to place her feet together before touching them.

“See, a guru only touches the disciple’s feet once. However, the disciple must continue doing this in pursuit of their art,” he is heard saying in Hindi.

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In any form of classical Indian dance, ghungroos are considered sacred and dancers always worship them before putting them on for a performance. Before getting on to the stage, dancers offer the ghungroos to the deities and then to the guru to invoke their blessings.

When it comes to receiving ghungroos, it is an important day in a dancer’s life as it marks the new beginning of their discourse. It involves a ritual called ghungroo daan, where the guru, elders and well-wishers gather on an auspicious day and offer the anklets to the deity before handing it over to the shishya (disciple).

The video of Birju Maharaj started doing rounds on various social media platforms, leaving everyone emotional.

Born Brijmohan Nath Mishra, Birju Maharaj ruled the stage with his impeccable footwork and emotive, stylised storytelling the Kathak way. Maharaj once recalled how he was just three years old when he would toddle towards the taleemkhana where young students were taught dance skills as well as the harmonium and the tabla.

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