Famous folk dancer Harish Suthar, aka Queen Harish, and three others of his dance troupe were killed in a road accident after their SUV rammed a stationary truck on Sunday.
Harish and the other three were on their way towards Ajmer from Jaisalmer in an SUV. The accident was reported near Kaparda village on a highway in Jodhpur.
“Their vehicle rammed into a stationary truck which left Harish, Ravindra, Bhikhe Khan and Latif Khan dead. Five others were injured in the mishap,” Sitaram Khoja, SHO of Bilara police station declared.
Queen Harish, whose birth name was Harish Kumar, was celebrated for his performances. Harish Kumar isn’t just a dancer but also the father of two young children. His unconventional profession has also earned him the fame and dignity he always aspired for.
“I don’t want to present dance in drag as an imitation of something people have already seen. I want my dance to be looked upon as a dignified presentation in itself,” Queen Harish had said a few years ago.
Kumar’s death is being mourned by many in India. The death of the artist was also condoled by the Chief Minister, Ashok Gehlot.
“The death of four persons including the famous artist, Queen Harish, in a road accident in Jodhpur is very sad. Dedicated to the folk art and culture of Rajasthan, Harish gave a new identity to Jaisalmer with his different dance style. His death is a big loss to the field of folk art,” Mr Gehlot said.
Harish had been dancing since he was a child. After his parents died when he was 12, he faced ridicule when he performed each night to provide for his siblings.
His big break came when he travelled to Europe and met other dancers. Despite widespread conservativism, his feminist energy in his performances gained him nationwide notoriety.
Former Mr Gay India and renowned drag queen, Sushant Divgikar, expressed that Harish’s death was a ‘great loss’.
‘It pains me to type this. It’s a great loss to all of us and more importantly to the stage’ Divigikar wrote.
‘We have lost one of our very best. Your legacy will live on forever.’
Furthermore, many fellow performers from across the world have left messages of condolences on Harish’s Facebook page.
‘I will remember Queeny Harish as a strong and humble being, young, decent and elegant man with a very firm and strong voice’, wrote Ute Marke.
‘Voice of the underprivileged, changemaker against all odds’, they also said.