Ramchandra Manjhi, Bhojpuri folk dance exponent dies: Pankaj Tripathi, CM Nitish Kumar & others pay tribute

Ramchandra Manjhi, Pankaj Tripathi and CM Nitish Kumar
Image Source : TWITTER Ramchandra Manjhi, Pankaj Tripathi and CM Nitish Kumar

Ramchandra Manjhi, whose performance in Bhojpuri folk dance ‘Naach’ for eight decades has helped the preservation of the ailing art form died in a hospital here after a prolonged illness, his family said on Thursday. Manjhi, who was 97, left behind four sons and two daughters. He was also awarded the Padma Shri award for his contribution.

The folk dancer was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences on September 2 with heart-related issues and other ailments. He died on Wednesday night.

Bollywood actor Pankaj Tripathi penned a note mourning his demise on Twitter. He wrote, “Last salute to the disciple of Bhikhari Thakur, the socialist and the wonderful artist of the dance tradition, Padmashree Shri Ramchandra Manjhi ji.”

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar expressed grief at Manjhi’s death.

“Ramchandra Manjhi’s demise is an immeasurable loss to the world of Bhojpuri folk, art, dance and culture. He was a great folk artist. My condolences to his family in this hour of grief,” Kumar said in a condolence message.

Several other people also paid tribute on social media. 

Manjhi was a famous performer of ‘Launda Naach’, a sub-set of ‘Naach’, in which men crossdress as women. His passion for the dance form even in old age has brought him several honours, including Sangeet Natak Akademi Award (2017) and Padma Shri (2021).

Born in Saran district in Bihar in 1925, Manjhi was the last scion of the legendary Bhikhari Thakur’s ‘Naach’ form of folk dance. He was one of the members of the original troupe of Bhikhari Thakur, known as Shakespeare of Bhojpuri language.

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