We’ve all experienced the miraculous power of social media. Here’s another story of a forgotten star who was surviving in utter scarcity making her two ends meet, but things changed for better. A Veteran dancer Tara Balgopal, who represented India in the world’s stage and won numerous awards, was living in anonymity in a shady corner of Rajouri Garden in the capital.
She was one of those true faces who have achieved excellence in India’s most noted dance forms, a famous performer of Kathak, Kathakali and Bharatanatyam in the country was living in utmost deplorable condition, beneath a fragile and decaying roof, in a dingy room filled with broken memories, in west Delhi’s Rajouri Garden.
A star of the yesteryears now in her 80s told her story to a renowned reporter of an established newspaper. Her photo story was published and soon it went viral online and finally things turned up in her favour. Her story drew attention of many of the individuals and organizations. She got immense support from the onliners and many contributed a token amount saluting the true Indian. Within a month she got an aid of Rs 8 lakh to relieve her from her misery.
She was India’s pride to such an extend where she had postal stamps issued in her honour by the Indian Govt. She was also very closely associated with the Gandhi-Nehru family, especially with Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Indira Gandhi. And yet she was passing her days on charity!
For her neighbours in the locality she is nothing more than a ‘madrasi’ living in a Punjabi locality of the capital.
Here, she is photographed with the postal stamp she was honoured with in 1962 after she’d performed in the Parliament in 1960.
Govt. had adapted absolute indifference to the depressing condition of the dancer. And we Indians were comfortable enough in our daily luxuries forgetting a living legend. She deserved much more from a country that boasts its nationalist ideology. And thanks to those fellow Indians who made it happen.
“Heartfelt thanks to HT and Arun Sharma as my present predicament changed because of you,” the 80-year-old dancer said.
Sharmishtha Mukherjee, the daughter of honourable President Pranab Mukherjee and also a Kathak dancer was one of the early people who offered their helping hands. She made sure that a monthly pension of Rs. 10,000 from the Sangeet Natak Academy is paid to the legendary dancer. She also assured that the students of Sangeet Natak Academy would soon be taking dancing lessons from the legendary dancer.
Advocate Nikhil Swarup also lend a helping hand to help the legend with and started an online campaign to contribute for Balagopal. He collected funds for her with his social circuit. The money he collected ranged between Rs 100 and up to Rs 1 lakh.
Bollywood actor Kunal Khemu also contributed a large amount, said Swarup. After the story was published on 5th November more than 400 people had contributed to the fund by 11 Nov.
The online campaign changed the irony of her fate with aid flooding in. The dancer in her 80s couldn’t afford a luxury of a domestic help before. But now the greyscale walls of her decaying room gets a makeover of paint and she can afford a domestic help to cook her meals, and her kitchen now has a refrigerator and a microwave among other things.
The plethora of awards and accolades that has been bestowed upon her by the Prime Ministers, that was left unnoticed with the legendary dancer herself for decades, is now shining brighter in her tiny apartment of the Rajouri Garden.