Thursday 16 April 2020

Does Corona compel us to think about a revival package for the arts? - Soch: Column by Dr. Arshiya Sethi

This is a topical and timely column. It comes in the series of Dance in the times of Corona. I share these thoughts, this 'Soch', with you, but address it to the policy makers who are working on a promised relief package for India, in the COVID 19 scenario. I hope they will not get bogged down by a one dimensional or myopic vision for the recovery of India, but will keep their ear to the ground, to hear the subterranean murmurs from various groups.

From dancers around the world, I am hearing a murmur. A murmur of anxiety. This murmur of anxiety is emanating from my friends, mostly from the world of the arts, artistes of all domains and hues, especially dancers, who are so special since they are the makers of the most intangible and chimerical art. Like the rest of the nation they too are anxious about what the future holds. It is like we fell asleep in one world and woke up in another. And we still don't know how different will be the world we closed our doors on, from the one we will open them to, after the lockdown is over. Nothing, as we wait out the health emergency and the clouds of the pandemic, seems to give any hope.

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  1. V.P.Dhananjayan: chennai. Very enlightening & informative article. Performing artistes -both classical & folk artistes are a neglected lot in Bhaaratam which is known for her art & culture only. As long as there is no professional status to arts, like other professions (doctors, engineers, IT & scientist ) it will remain just casual passion and past time. Art & culture are not in the priority list of the Government, but used only to proclaim the greatness of the country's heritage. funding is not available for arts & culture , to get the available fund in the concerned department or Ministry is a Harculian task, dissuading artistes in applying for funding. After cumbersome procedures, to get the sanctioned money in time from the government is yet another gruelling affair, some time one has to go through a middleman operating in between with cut of 30%. Funding is the most stumbling factor in the performing arts field. In spite of all these onslaughts art and artistes survive due to the dedicated few and few public sympathisers.

  2. Very informative and probing article by renowned author-columnist Dr. Arshiya Sethi. Fortunate to have been in touch with her for many years and always an enlightening experience to listen to her thoughts. She is an inspiration to many

  3. well researched, beautifully written, this article flows along with a good rhythm.