I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness for it shows me the stars. — Og Mandino

po_Birju-Pandit1Brijmohan Mishra popularly known as Pandit Birju Maharaj (February 4, 1938) is the leading exponent of the Lucknow Kalka-Bindadin gharana of Kathak dance in India. He is a descendant of the legendary Maharaj family of Kathak dancers, including his two uncles, Shambhu Maharaj and Lachhu Maharaj, and his father and guru, Acchan Maharaj. Even though dancing is his first love, he also has an excellent command over Hindustani classical music and is an accomplished vocalist as well. He took Kathak to new heights by choreographing new Kathak dance dramas.He is also the founder of kalashram. He has toured extensively across the globe, given thousands of performances and held hundreds of workshops for kathak students.

After working along with his uncle, Shambhu Maharaj at Bhartiya Kala Kendra, later the Kathak Kendra, New Delhi, he remained head of the latter, for several years, till his retirement in 1998 when he opened his own dance school, Kalashram, also in Delhi.

Birju Maharaj has won many accolades, including Padma Vibhushan in 1986, Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the Kalidas Samman. He also received honorary Doctorate degrees from the Banaras Hindu University (Varanasi) and the Khairagarh University.