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Can insurance help musicians? Yes, says Shubha Mudgal

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Insurance would serve as a tremendous leg-up in ensuring that young artistes take up music as a stable profession, says noted Hindustani classical singer Shubha Mudgal. “Younger people are committed to music but the issue is how to make it a full-time profession for them.

“As a society we need to be around for them and know what makes them happy. Not just the accolades, the artiste must also feel wanted in other ways. For example, where is the effort to provide medical insurance to the artistes?” Mudgal asked while speaking to IANS.

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“People working in other organisations have medical insurance, but a lot of musicians in India may not have any medical insurance. Also, when we are on stage, are we provided any sureties? I think those are the areas which need to be looked into,” she said.

Then, while the soulful sitar and sarangi mesmerise all of us, there seems to be a systemic apathy by insurance companies in giving due recognition to these acoustic Indian instruments, said Mudgal. “We don’t have a system where we can insure acoustic Indian instruments. If I want to insure my keyboard, it will be done. But if I want to insure my tanpura, it can’t be. I cannot do anything about it as I don’t belong to the insurance sector. I don’t have a voice there,” Mudgal said.

“How are we going to ensure that every sitar, tabla, sarangi and other acoustic instruments gets due recognition and how the artisans who make them get properly looked after?” the singer wondered.

According to Mudgal, even though there has been a rise in the number of music festivals in the last 100 years, it’s not easy for the younger artistes. In this context she referred to the need to ensure that music becomes a stable profession for the young artistes who are committed to the art.

Mudgal was be conferred the Rajiv Gandhi National Sadbhavana Award — on the late prime minister’s birth anniversary August 20 — for her outstanding contribution towards promoting communal harmony, peace and goodwill.

Referring to the award, she said: “It’s always very reassuring to get an award. When I look at the list of former recipients of this award, I am quite humbled as they are the people I have greatly respected and always looked up to. I wonder whether I am qualified enough as people like Lataji, Bismillah Khan sahab and Amjad Ali Khan sahab who have received it earlier”.