Resuming cultural activities: Bhopal Artistes divided over issue

The rising number of coronavirus cases should not come in way of restarting cultural activities provided social-distancing norms are followed, say local artistes. A few of them, however, feel it will be better to wait for some more time.

The union government has permitted cultural events in open air auditoria from September 21 provided the number of people present there doesn’t exceed 100 and all Covid norms are followed.

Singer Sunil Shukraware said artistes are in distress because of ban on cultural activities since March. “We are sitting idle for the past seven months. The artistes also have families to feed. How will we make ends meet? How will we bring up our children?” he asked. He said we should not fear Corona but fight it.

Sitarist Smita Nagdev said resumption of cultural activities will benefit artistes and society. “Cultural activities are stress busters. They will inject happiness and enthusiasm among people,” she said. She said Corona is spreading because of people’s carelessness. “It should be mandatory for people to wear masks and maintain social distancing during cultural events,” she added.

Choreographer Shruti Kriti Barik said why should cultural activities be stopped when shops are opening, people are seen in bazaars and offices are functioning. “A way should be found to ensure that cultural events are held while taking precautions,” she remarked.

Theatre actor-director Prem Gupta, while admitting that markets have opened, said that it will be impossible to follow norms at performances. “Say, a play is being staged. Will actors deliver their dialogues while standing at a distance of six feet from each other? Will people who come to see the play won’t talk to each other?” he demanded to know. Gupta said it will be better to wait for some more time before resuming cultural activities.

Film and theater actor Saroj Sharma said it will be difficult not only for the artistes but also for audience to travel. “Cultural events are not a one-time affair. You have to have rehearsals, you have to make preparations. Can all this be done without putting artistes and audience at risk?” she asked. She said artistes should wait till pandemic abates.

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