GUWAHATI, Aug 8 - A group of theatre workers of the State submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal seeking support to the fraternity that has been suffering due to the lockdown.
A delegation comprising actor and chief correspondent of PTI Trideep Lahkar, social worker Pratul Barman, director Drasta (society of performing arts) Indrajit Kakati and actor Manab Jyoti Nath met Sonowal on Friday in this regard. The Chief Minister assured the delegation that he would discuss the issue with the cultural affairs department.
The memorandum stated that the theatre workers of Assam are in acute financial stress after almost four months of no work. �Most of the theatre workers are selling vegetables, while some have turned daily wage labourers at several places. Some have even sold their prized possessions used dearly in theatre productions, only to feed a few meals to their families. The future of their children is totally uncertain. They are suffering from unbearable pain,� it added.
It also mentioned that while on the one hand the lockdown helped in containing spread of the virus, on the other it affected the people economically. Thousands of people lost their jobs and innumerable people survived on support from the government and good Samaritans. The theatre activities also came to a grinding halt during the lockdown, it said.
Signed by president of India People�s Theatre Association (Assam) Sudakshina Sarma, former principal of Cotton College and director Samahar Natya Gosthee Dr Sitanath Lahkar and others, the memorandum acknowledged that the State government has taken several steps for the welfare of the marginalised people of the State. However, somehow the professional theatre workers who are not associated with the mobile or moving theatre, have been left out of the recent welfare measures of the government. There are hundreds of people who earn their livelihood working in various departments of dozens of theatre groups across the State. These people work in different segments such as script writing, direction, acting, make-up, set design, costume, lights and others, it added.
The delegation also urged Sonowal to support and assist the theatre workers at least for the next six months.
�Even if the pandemic gets over soon, it will not be an easy task to restart the theatre productions as people will be apprehensive of sitting in a gathering inside an auditorium. Moreover, these artistes have never received regular monthly salary. The full-timers in this creative art form have been surviving with whatever little amount they get from each performance of a play. The Assamese culture and values have been immensely enriched by the contribution of these artistes,� the memorandum said.