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Support for Artists
By: Editor | 07-01-2013
Total Views:1232

In this poor country where ordinary folk die waiting for beds in government hospitals, it is too distressing when one reads about government giving cheques of hundreds of thousands to actors and singers for treatment.

Recently Dr Ishratul Ibad, the governor of Sindh, gave $50,000 to Alamgir, a singer, so that he may have kidney transplants in the United States. Of course, Ibad did not give this money out of his own pocket but from the public exchequer.

This magnanimous act on the part of the governor raises a few questions: what is the justification for this huge donation to one person when there are thousands others in the country who need similar treatment but are getting no help from the government? Why has Alamgir been considered worthy of this financial assistance by the governor? Why have others — who are not fortunate enough to reach the governor — not been taken care of?

This is not the first instance. The government has always been willing to extend financial support to artists. Almost every week, we hear news reports about actors and singers living in extremely poor condition where no one asks about their health (kasmapursi ke alam mein) and reporters urging the government to help these ‘great’ people who ‘served the country’ in their heyday. And then there are reports of a minister or an advisor visiting these artists and giving them big cheques. There have been numerous reports about Mehdi Hasan needing government support for his treatment.

Hearing such news one feels as if all artists in this country sing or act for the love of the nation and never charge a penny and, therefore, deserve the government support when they are no longer able to perform.

But the fact is that actors and singers get paid for their work just as a carpenter or a blacksmith or a tailor or any other person does. Artists earn huge amounts of money — millions more than the ordinary folk. But they squander it and beg for government support in their old age.

Reading the news about Alamgir getting $50,000 I recalled the deaths of a professor and his wife who both died of starvation because the man could not get his pension.

In 2003, the bodies of 70-year-old Ghazi Khan Jakhrani and his 65-year-old wife were found in their house in Malir. It was estimated that the bodies had been lying there for nearly two weeks. Jakhrani had retired from his job at Jamia Millia Degree College three years ago, but had never received pension, benevolent fund and other dues owing to red tape.

There are hundreds of thousands like Jakhrani who work honestly all their lives, but die without any help from anybody because of their failure to earn fame. So unfortunate! So unfortunate! So unfortunate!

(courtesy : The News)


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