Eminent dancer and teacher, 'Nritya Mata Guru' Rahija Khanam Jhunu passed away on Sunday morning in the capital's Lab Aid hospital, at the age of 74. She was suffering from various old-age complications including that of lungs and heart.
Rahija Khanam Jhunu was born on June 21, 1943 in Manikganj, and showed signs of her talent at young age. She took admission at the Bulbul Academy of Fine Arts (BAFA) in 1956, and worked in a number of productions there including Jasim Uddin's “Nakshi KaNtha'r Math”, which was widely acclaimed and was performed in erstwhile West Pakistan, Iraq and Iran. Another one of her early successes include performance in dance-drama “Chirokaler Bondhutto” which was staged in 1956 at a programme in honour of visiting erstwhile Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai. She joined BAFA as a teacher in 1960 the role of its principal in 1998.
She performed extensively in the country and internationally in a career spanning several decades, and directed numerous acclaimed dance productions including “Surjomukhi Nodi”, “Uttoroner Deshe”, “Hajar Tarer Beena” and “The Malady”. Jhunu also wrote two books – “Nrityoshilpo” and “Nrityer Ruprekha”. Her students include Lubna Marium, Zinat Barkatullah, Shamim Ara Neepa, Sohel Rahman, Shaju Ahmed, Sadia Islam Mou and others. Her daughter Farhana CHowdhury Baby is also a well-known dancer and dance teacher.
For her contribution to the field of dance, Rahija Khanam Jhunu was awarded the Ekushey Padak in 1990. She was also the recipient of many national awards and honours.