The global pandemic of Covid-19 hit the world in January 2020. The world came to a standstill. India was affected as well because of the pandemic. In March 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the first lockdown to tame the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
Tough situations continued for over two years. As a precautionary measure to avoid a large gathering of people, almost all the stage shows were cancelled. This severely affected the local folk artists as stage shows are the main source of their income.
Sanskar Bharati’s Akhil Bharatiya Prabandhkarini passed a resolution, appealing to governments to make efforts to help the artists.
“The Akhil Bharatiya Prabandhkarini of Sanskar Bharati is of the opinion that it is necessary in the midst of the normalizing situation of the pandemic, the opportunities for the artists should also start as before. Recognizing the usefulness of online programs, special emphasis should be laid on organizing real tangible programs. For this, meaningful efforts will be required for artistic activities to come back to the pre-pandemic situation and for the artists to once again worship the nation through art,” Akhil Bharatiya Prabandhkarini noted in its resolution.
It further noted that “Organizing annual local festivals at different places should start as before. Particularly, the series of events where large number of local folk artists, artists displaying different types of handicrafts, tribal artists etc used to get opportunities in small and big fairs and local cultural programs in different areas, should also be started again. With this on one hand, the direct response of the audience/listeners for the performance will provide strength to the artists, while it will also help them in relieving the worry of livelihood.”
Artists are facing an existential crisis, and it is the duty of the governments to make efforts to improve the situation. The governments should start the “process of long-pending scholarships, fellowships, awards, honours, All India Radio programmes, pensions as well as the workshops for art students”.
During the tough times of Covid-19, artists boosted the morale of society. Despite the crisis in their livelihood, the artists defeated the pandemic with the help of art. Songs conveying social messages were written, and different videos were released for social awareness. An attempt was made to remove the negativity spread in society through online artistic activities of various genres during the lockdown period. The art world fulfilled its social responsibility through artists in fighting against this pandemic.
When the country is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Independence, Prabandhkarini noted, “the Amrit Mahotsav of Freedom should become an occasion to instil new life to the artists”.