By Tanaya Singh:
Zohra Sehgal. The name personifies grace, experience, beauty and fame. Yet, this 101-year-old Indian veteran actress who has the prestigiousÂ Padma Vibhushan in her name, does not have a house that she can call her own. Currently living with her daughterÂ Kiran SehgalÂ in South Delhi’s Mandakini Enclave, sheÂ had written to the state government in 2011 seeking a house preferably on the ground floor. Three years on, she is still waiting.Â According to Kiran, they had applied in 2011 to the then Chief Minister, Sheila Dikshit, requesting for the allotment of a house.[blockquote source=”Kiran Sehgal”]We applied to the then chief minister Sheila Dixit asking her to allot a house to my mother as per the provisions under the artiste quota. We were told our application was forwarded to the Urban Development Ministry. We even met the minister but nothing was done. It’s extremely pathetic and doesn’t speak very well of the government, given the fact that you have honoured Maa (Zohra) with the second highest civilian award, Padma Vibhushan.”[/blockquote]
It is very difficult for the actress, who will be turning 102 this April to move around without help. Is this how we treat the elderly in this country? People who nurtured Indian art and culture and helped it grow for decades, are left all alone at a time when the nation has a chance to gift back. Zohra’s case came to light, but there are many other artists struggling to find homes, make ends meet and have a normal life after having given so much to the Indian arts and culture. Bharat Ratna winning, veteran Shehnai player, Ustad Bismillah Khan died in poverty, with no help from the Government.
Zohra’s daughter has not given up yet and plans to approach Arvind Kejriwal to plea further. Mr Kejriwal, here’s one more thing that needs your attention. Will you care to look, or will the request be lost once again?