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Pt. Sundaralal Gangani
- Ashish Mohan Khokar
Photos: Mohan Khokar Dance Archives

December 18, 2013

Pt. Guru Sundaralal Gangani passed away on auspicious kartik poornima, on December 17, 2013, in his home town of Baroda. Scion of Jaipur Gharana, he was brother to Guru Kundanlal Gangani. Between them, they trained scores of Kathak dancers in Baroda, Delhi, USA. Anjani Ambegaonkar, Dharamsiji Shah, Shovana Narayan, Prerana Shrimali, Rajendra Gangani, sons Harish and Jagdish Gangani are some of their serious disciples. They have trained many more.

(L-R) Madanlal, Kundanlal, Sundarlal and a relative
Photo: Prof. Mohan Khokar

He left his native Sujangarh village in Churu District, Bikaner, to come to Baroda University on invitation of founder-head of India first Dance Dept. Prof Mohan Khokar and stayed on till his retirement. His two sons, Harish and Jagdish gained employment as hailing from traditional gharana family at the same faculty and continue to teach at the Performing Arts Faculty, MSU, Baroda. He was bestowed the Sangeet Natak Adademi award among other titles and awards like Gujarat Gaurav Samman and Sur Singar Samman.

An accomplished poet, composer and tabla player, he was an all-rounder, wearing his many talents lightly. He was an excellent composer and created many compositions in honour of his ishta devta Ram and Hanuman. No wonder, he breathed his last on a Tuesday, a day considered to be Hanuman day in north and west India. He is survived and celebrated by a large circle of family, friends and students.

Ashish Mohan Khokar is a reputed critic, historian, editor and publisher of Indian dance. For last 15 years he has edited India's only yearbook on dance - attendance. He is associated with several universities like Baroda, Bangalore, Berlin and Bombay and is a widely read columnist on the net. More details on

May the great master's soul rest in peace. Condolences on behalf of the Kathak staff and students of Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Mumbai.
- S. Gokhale (Dec 20, 2013)

Kathak world has lost one of the greatest Kathak dancers, musician , teacher and a composer for ever. This void cannot be filled. Salute to such a great Artist. R.I.P.
- Anon (Dec 19, 2013)

The great legendary Kathak Guru Pandit Sundarlal Gangani (popularly known as Guruji) is no more with us. Born in Rajasthan on 19th May 1929, he passed away on 17th December 2013 at the age of 84. His contributions to the worldwide development of Kathak dance were enormous and spanned several decades. He took a close interest in the development and progress of Kathak dance at CICD, and had been visiting Leicester since 1991 up until 1999, providing a platform and composing dance repertoires for professionals as well as young dance students.

Guruji's name was pivotal in the world of Kathak. He was trained by Acharya Shivnarayan of Jaipur tradition. He was a unique poet and has written hundreds of Kathak poems and technical compositions. Other than Kathak, Pandit Sundarlal was also an accomplished tabla and flute player. During his life, he served the cause of Kathak in both individual and institutional capacities. He held the coveted post of Principal at Guru Gourishankar's dance academy in Mumbai, as well as at the Performing Arts College of MS University, Vadodara. He has a long list of accomplishments and awards to his credit, such as from Sangeet Natak Akademi of Gujarat and New Delhi. He trained many students; some of them are teaching, choreographing and performing in India and abroad. He was truly a pioneer of contemporary Kathak and his name commands respect in the world of Kathak.
- Nilima Devi, Artistic Director, Centre for Indian Classical Dance (CICD), Leicester (Jan 10, 2014)

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