Baiju Bawra

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For the 1952 Bollywood film, see Baiju Bawra (film).
Baiju Bawra
Birth name Baijnath Mishra
Born 1542
Chanderi, Madhya Pradesh
Died 1613
Genres Indian classical music singer
Occupations singer

Baiju Bawra or Baijnath Prasad or Baijnath Mishra (1542–1613) was an Indian dhrupad singer. He was the court musician of Raja Mansingh Tomar of Gwalher, now Gwalior, along with Nayak Charju, Bakshu,Tansen and others. Much of the information on Baiju Bawra is legendary and not historically verifiable.

Early life[edit]

Bawra was born in Chanderi (Gwalior division)on Sharad Purnima in the month of Ashwini in 1599 according to Vikram Samvat calendar (1542 CE). He was called Bawra (crazy) because he was insanely in love with Kalavati dancer in Chanderi. Baiju learnt Dhrupad music by Guru HariDas Goswami in Vrindavan.


Bawra was a musician at the court of the Raja of Chanderi (now in the Guna District of Madhya Pradesh). Later, he became a musician at the court of Raja Mansingh of Gwalher (modern Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh). Sultan Bahadur Shah of Gujarat had also patronized Baiju.[1]

Like Tansen, the musician at the court of Mughal Emperor Akbar, Bawra was a disciple of Swami Haridas (1512–1607).

According to historical books preserved in Jai Vilas Mahal in Gwalior, he would light oil lamps by singing Raga Deepak, make it rain by singing the ragas Megh, Megh Malhar, or Gaud Malhar, and bloom flowers by singing raga Bahar as well as melting of stone by singing raga malkauns.

Contemporary singers[edit]

Swami Haridas teaching Tansen

Besides Tansen, renowned singers, Baba Ram Das, who composed raga Ramdasi Malhar, and Nayak Charju, who composed raga Charju 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.

Later life[edit]

Baiju died of typhoid at the age of 71 on the eve of the Indian festival, Basant Panchami in Vikram Samvat 1670 (1613 CE)in chanderi.

In popular culture[edit]

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. This film's story is completely different from Baiju's real life, but still became a huge commercial success, especially due to the songs like 'O Duniya Ke Rakhwale' sung by the legendary singer Mohammed Rafi.


  1. ^ Indian Council for Cultural Relations, ed. (1971). The Indo-Asian Culture. Indian Council for Cultural Relations.