Recently many news outlets covered the story of veteran dancer Tara Balgopal, who, despite once being India’s pride, now lives in absolute poverty and is passing her days on charity. Balgopal who even had a postal stamp issued in her honour by the Indian government was one of India’s most famous performers in many noted dance forms like Kathak, Bharatanatyam and Kathakali, and was closely associated with the Gandhi-Nehru family, especially with Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi.
But it seems with end of the Nehru-Gandhi era, Tara Balgopal, who is now 80-years old also became forgotten.
The Indian government is not the only one who forgot to take care of a legend who deserves more; even the institute that she did everything for seems to be apathetic towards her condition.
After holding a respectable post of a Reader in English in Delhi University’s Rajdhani College for many years, she now has to fight them to get what is rightfully hers.
Post her retirement 15 years ago, she is yet to receive her dues from the University.
Though she has an open case still going on against them in court, the University has not paid her anything over the years and to make matters worse claims to have lost her file. Balgopal, who was the first Indian teacher to conduct UG courses on All India Radio in 1963, had done much to get glory for the institute, but today even the banks and insurance companies have turned a deaf ear to her misery and withheld her money and personal property.
While she has been fighting the authorities to get what is rightfully hers, and her story has been doing the rounds on the social media for many days now, the government is yet to take notice or do anything to improve her condition.
But there are many foundations and people who have come forward and are willing to help her out. In fact you can help the veteran dancer too through any of these foundations:
1. Shiv Lal Foundation on BitGiving
: The foundation has come forward and requested people to help them provide for Tara and for her better living conditions. They urge people to contribute so that her house can be cleaned and her day-to-day expenses are taken care of till she gets what is hers. 2. Help Tara Dance Again
via Ketto.Org: The campaign is trying to raise Rs. 6 lakhs for the veteran dancer before Diwali next month. The campaign has gained much support and has already raised over Rs. 5 lakh. With this money the founder of this campaign, Nikhil Sarup aims to:
- Fix Tara’s House which needs minor repairs and a good paint job.
- Ensure Tara get her meals daily and has engaged a milkman and tiffin service to ensure this. (It is sad that she had reached a point that she had to depend on her neighbours to get basic food.)
- Pay her electricity bills and cover her medical expenses.
After all the above is covered, the rest of the money would be used to:
- To get her part-time maid who cleans the place and washed her clothes and does the utensils.
- Get Tara some basic furnitures, bedsheets, curtains etc.
- Get Tara a cable connection. She has a old TV, but no cable.
While few the above things might look small to many, these are just the basic things in life one needs and even a small contribution of money would go a long way in helping the acclaimed performer live a better life.