The newly-elected Mayawati government has removed acclaimed flautist Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia and theatre personality Nadira Babbar from top cultural posts with immediate effect.
Chaurasia was the chairman of the UP Sangeet Natak Akademi (UPSNA) and Nadira Babbar chairperson of the Bhartendu Natya Akademi (BNA).
An announcement was made on May 15 that terms of chairpersons and presidents of various akademis had been terminated. However, BNA was not sure if this applied to Nadira Babbar.
Talking to Hindustan Times, BNA director Surya Mohan Kulshreshtha said, "It was announced that the terms of chairpersons and presidents of various akademis was terminated but there was confusion about the order. It was only today that we got a letter from Secretary, Culture, RN Tripathi stating that Nadira Babbar was relieved of her duties."
Talking to HT over the phone, Nadira said, "It happens every time governments change. Anyway, my term was about to end by this month end. There is no big deal about this decision. I wish all the best to the person who succeeds me and I hope the akademi progresses in his/her tenure."
Similarly, Chaurasia was relieved of his duties as UPSNA chairperson. BK Dubey, secretary of UPSNA, said, "We knew that all the chairpersons were removed from their posts by the new government." However, when asked if Pt Hari Prasad Chaurasia was informed about this decision, he said Pt Chaurasia was never in town, so he could not be informed.
Earlier, the Mayawati government had removed Umesh Dixit, chairperson of the State Lalit Kala Akademi. Since then, there has been confusion in the State Lalit Kala Akademi.
The akademis want a chairperson so that they can function efficiently. "This is the beginning of a new financial year and we have a lot of planning to do. We need a head as soon as possible so that we can carry on with the required functions," said an akademi official.
As soon as Mayawati came to power, chairpersons of all the language akademis had resigned. They included Som Thakur (Hindi Sansthan), Prof Malikzada Manzoor Ahmed (Urdu Akademi), Surendra Singh Patel (Sanskrit Sansthan) and Gopal Das 'Neeraj' (Bhasha Sansthan).