By Lokendra Singh
Jaipur, June 25 : Upset over the unfair practice of Rajasthan's Tourism Department in the selection process for the Jawahar Kala Kendra, popular academy for arts, a group of folk artistes on Monday gave vent to their protest and fury in a musical way.
The unique protest was on public view during the audition of a group of folk artistes organised by the Tourism Department at the popular Jawahar Kala Kendra here.
The folk artistes narrated their grievances against the policies of the State Tourism Department through songs. They stated how folk artistes, in the name of selection for government programmes, were being asked to pay bribes to the tourism officials.
"My objection is over the jury and photography. There are thousands of artistes in Rajasthan. Suppose there are 20 groups, they should be given work. Otherwise the artistes will be in trouble. The traditional culture of performance is deteriorating with the stipulated rules and regulations of the Department and all these have worsened the matter," rued Samandar Khan, the President of Association of Folk Artistes of Rajasthan.
"Since last three year I haven't got any programme to perform. The authorities have not given me any call letter or news. They call only people who can bribe them under the table. Of course, I have no evidence and on my part, only honesty, service and truth happen to be my art," opined Jumma Jogi, another folk artiste.
"Earlier, there was one Rathorji who used to take bribes and now even Varma takes bribes. I request them to reduce the price but they stopped giving me a chance to perform saying that I have become a 'big actor'," he added.
According to the artistes, they feel that the people sitting in the jury are not competent enough, as they do not have the know-how about their art.
The folk artistes instead suggested that instead of government officials, renowned folk artistes like Gulabo should have been given chances to evaluate their art properly.
Meanwhile, as per the authorities of the Tourism Department those empanelled to be the jury are learned persons and it has been for the first ever time that auditions have been held to select artistes for Government programmes.
"We have a lot of options and we cannot perform all of them. One artiste saying that the need training from Gulabo and the other would have other names in their mind. From our side, we are thinking about everybody. The groups are selected by the Assistant Directors. There are responses from people we've sent the message to. Though the response is slightly low, it is only due to the rains and the agitation atmosphere, otherwise, all that we've called showed up," said Urmila Rajoria, Additional Director of the Rajasthan Tourism.
As per new scheme of things, the Tourism Department wants to shortlist the good artistes from the entire State and would later give them chance to perform in State sponsored programmes.
Normally, a single artiste is paid between rupees 400 to 500 per programme in Rajasthan.