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India: Statement by SAHMAT on eviction notices to artists from their government accommodation in Delhi

21 November

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SAHMAT

Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust

c/o 36 Pt. Ravi Shankar Shukla Lane (Canning Lane)

New Delhi-110001

Email: sahmat8[at]yahoo.com

Tel-23381276/23070787

21.11.2020

SAHMAT protests the decision of the Central Government to issue eviction notices to artists from their government accommodation in Delhi. There was a long-standing policy under previous governments to allot government housing to artists and performers under certain guidelines and criteria. Most of the artists who have been issued these notices are now aged and do not have any other place to reside. Many people do not realise the precarious financial condition most artists have to cope with, including those who are very famous, indeed legendary names. This is particularly true of dancers, most of whom have had to teach in order to make a living. That a legend like Pandit Birju Maharaj has to plead publicly that at his age he has nowhere to go and does not have many years left, is a blot on our country. All the dancers, musicians, painters and dance historians are major figures in our cultural life and have been hailed in India and around the world as ambassadors of our culture. They cannot afford the kinds of market rents in Delhi now. We, fellow artists, appeal to the Government to reconsider this decision. Surely the government can afford to allot a tiny proportion of its housing pool as a cultural support to deserving practitioners who have enriched our lives.

Ram Rahman

SAHMAT

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SEE RELEVANT NEWS REPORT:

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/lutyens-eviction-notices-inhumane-say-artists/article33103608.ece