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Baiju Bawra
GharanaDhrupad - Dagur BaniBaiju Bawra
SpecialityVocal
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Baiju was one of the most prominent Dhrupad singer and composer in medieval period. He was under patronage of Raja Mansing Tomar in Gwalior. Baiju composed many Dhrupads which are still in repertoire of Dhrupad singers.


He is said to be born in Champaner, Gujarat on Sharad Purnima in the month of Ashwini in 1599 (Vikram Samvat). Baiju learnt Dhrupad music in Dagurvaani in Vrindavan under Swami Haridas (1512–1607). He was called Bawra (crazy) because he was insanely in love with a court dancer in Chanderi.

Initially he was a musician at the court of the Raja of Chanderi and later in the court of Raja Mansingh Tomar. Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat also patronized him.

Their are many anecdots about his singing and it's mystical effect; succh as lights being illuminated wth his rendition of Raga Deepak.

Besides Tansen, renowned singers such as Baba RamDas (creator of Raga Ramdasi Malhar), Nayak Charju (creator of RagaCharju ki Malhar), were Baiju's contemporaries.


Historian Abul Fazal at Emperor Akbar's court and historian Faqirullah at Emperor Aurangzeb's court have written that Baiju defeated Tansen in a singing competition at the court of Akbar. Tansen then touched Baiju's feet and asked for his own life. In response, kind-hearted Baiju went back to Gwalior.
[edit]A Legend on Baiju

A legend goes as follows. Gopal Lala was a beloved student of Baiju. After Gopal Lala and his wife deserted Baiju to seek a performing career elsewhere, Baiju lost his senses. From this point onwards, he was known as Baiju Bawra (crazy Baiju). The king of Kashmir employed Gopal Lala as a court musician; Gopal Lala claimed that he was a self-taught musician. On learning this, Baiju reached that city in tattered clothes. His crazed appearance and singing caused a sensation but Gopal Lala refused to recognize his guru. Duly, a contest was arranged between Baiju and Gopal Lala at the royal court. Baiju was to sing first and Gopal Lala was to respond. Baiju sang raga Bhimpalasi with such effect that Gopal Lala broke down and died of heart attack on the spot. Gopal Lala's body was cremated on the bank of river Satluj. When the bones in Gopal's body were thrown in the river following the cremation, they sank. According to a legend, Gopal's widow then asked Baiju to retrieve her husband's bones. Responding, Baiju taught a new version of Malhar to her daughter, Meera, and after a week's training, Meera sang that raga on the bank of Satluj in front of a crowd. As soon as she finished the Dhrupad, her father's bones emerged on the bank out of the river. From that time on, that raga is known as Meera ki Malhar. After this incident, Baiju renounced a wordly life and disappeared in the forests of Kashmir.
[edit]Later life

Baiju died of typhoid at the age of 71 on the eve of the Indian festival, Basant Panchami in Vikram Samvat 1670 (1613 CE).
[edit]In popular culture

Baiju Bawra, a Hindi-language film was made on him in 1952. In the movie, Baiju is a musician who believes that Tansen is responsible for his father's death. He attempts to avenge his father's death by challenging Tansen to a musical duel and is successful in defeating him.
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