Bindadin Maharaj

Bindadin Maharaj was born in 1830. He was the originator of his Gharana, popularly and widely known as Lucknow Gharana. He together with his brother Kalika Prasad, brought a renaissance in Kathak and raised it to a high level of polished and extremely stylized dance. He was born in Handia Tehsil in Allahabad district where his father Durga Prasad used to live. Durga Prasad had three sons Bindadin and Kalika Prasad were own brothers. Bindadin had no children, whereas Kalika Prasad had three sons - Achchan Maharaj, Luchchu Maharaj and Shambhu Mahaiaj. Bindadin gave the utmost training to his nephew Achchan Maharaj. Bindadin, in his own turn, was trained by his father and uncle Thakur Prasad. He started taking lessons in dancing from the age of nine and practiced only "Tig Da Dig Dig" for three years, regularly practicing for twelve a day. It is said that once as a mere boy he had discussions regarding Tala, with the Pakhawaj wizard Kudau Singh in the court of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah. Thakur Prasad was an employee at that time at the court. He was very much perturbed on the behavior of Bindadin and was afraid of any kind of humiliation in the court. On one side there was 12 year old Bindadin and on the other the Pakhawaj-king Kudau Singh praying to God. Thakur Prasad asked Bindadin to stand up for his performance.. Everyone was surprised to witness the dexterity of Bindadin and acknowledged that Bindadin was much more in form than Kudau Singh. Nawab Sahab was so pleased that he presented Bindadin with enormous wealth. On attaining maturity Bindadin Maharaj became very famous for his art and also earned an appreciable amount of money. He was also an expert in singing and composing Thumri, and the reputed Thumri singers of those days, Gauhai Jaan, Zohra Bai and others, were his disciples. It is said that he composed about 1500 new types of Thumri. He was a man of character and used to lead a simple life. Due to the First War of Independence he went out of Lucknow for some time with Thakur Prasad. Thereafter he went to Nepal and from there to Bhopal and was warmly welcomed at both the places. He was not only acclaimed as a great dancer at these places, but also received a large amount of riches as gifts. He was a devotee of Lord Krishna. His portrait shows that at the time of dancing he used to put on Achkan, Churidar and Dupalli cap. He died in 1918.