Over 100 prominent names from the world of cinema, music and sports have applied for the Uttar Pradesh government’s monthly pension for Yash Bharti awardees.
Yash Bharti is one of the highest state-level awards conferred for excellence in literature, fine arts, classical music, folk music and sports. Officials in the state’s culture department said artistes who had applied for the Rs 50,000 pension included cricketers Mohammad Kaif and Suresh Raina, singers Shubha Mudgal, Kailash Kher, Rajan-Sajan Mishra and Channulal Mishra and actors Jimmy Shergill, Raj Babbar and his wife Nadira Babbar.
The department had sent out letters to all 141 awardees with a copy of the application form, asking them to apply for the pension. Officials said they had received over 100 applications until January 31 — the last date to apply for the pension.
While actor Amitabh Bachchan had declined the pension as soon as it was announced in November last year, many others have accepted the offer.
“I have applied for the pension because arts and artistes are usually neglected. In such a scenario, if the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to honour them beyond awards, it is a very valuable gesture that should be respected,” singer Shubha Mudgal told HT.
Mohammad Kaif too said he did not want to turn down the honour and had therefore filed his application.
“Unlike Bollywood artistes, we are classical singers who have limited patrons. We train students free of cost and are only dependent on shows for our fees. Therefore, the pension would be of great help for us,” said brothers Rajan and Sajan Mishra, who were felicitated with the Yash Bharti award in 2013 and 2014 respectively.
Singer Kailash Kher said he would use the pension for a good cause.
“The phrase ‘kabhi arsh par toh kabhi farsh par’ (sometimes in the sky and sometimes on the ground) is what defines artistes like us. This money will do lot of good to those who need it badly because in our field, there is a lot of uncertainty,” he said.
Meanwhile, with the overwhelming response, a dilemma has come up for the state government.
“There are some artistes who are already receiving some pension from the state. In such a case, the final decision on their applications is yet to be made,” said a source at the department.