Ailing Sambalpuri (Dalkhai) dancing star’ “Gurubari Mirdha” struggles for survival

May 1, 2010 at 5:14 pm Leave a comment

Following is a TOI report:

SAMBALPUR: She had held the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi spellbound with her dance performance when she was just 16.

Forty years later, the dancer is old and helpless, living in an incomplete Indira Awas Yojana house with her husband. She does not even get two square meals a day. Her husband, who suffers from a fractured leg, is also not in a position to earn a living. The ailing couple lives at the “mercy” of locals.

The extremely talented Sambalpuri (Dalkhai) dancer, Gurubari Mirdha, is today bedridden in her house in M Gandpali under the Bijepur police station of Bargarh district, about 85 km from Sambalpur. She wiles away the hours reminiscencing her halcyon days. Indira Gandhi, who had a great fetish for Orissa art and culture, could not resist the temptation of joining her on stage when she was performing in the Capital in 1968. The turning point in her career, felt the dancer, was this performance in Delhi. “I was taken aback by the Prime Minister’s spirited move. She joined me on stage. I was a little nervous but she made me feel very comfortable. She held my hand and danced with me. Later, we photographed together,” recalled the dancer.

Gurubari, who is now 56, has received numerous awards and citations from organisations like the Orissa Sangeet Natak Akademi, Adivasi Bhasa Sanskruti Academy, Mathkhai Utsav, Bolangir and Lokmohotsav Sambalpur.

 She also gave many performances on Doordarsan.

Her room is stacked with certificates and mementoes that talk about her glorious past. “I received several awards and mementoes during my 40-year career, but these are now meaningless as I am starving,” she said. “Earlier we could manage with my husband’s earnings. He was a daily labourer but the fracture has rendered him jobless,” complained Gurubari.

Good Samaritans in her locality extended a helping hand to the couple to tide over their financial crisis. “But the money given to her is not sufficient,” said retired MD of OHPC, K K Supkar. “She needs a regular income.”

Neighbour Biranchi Sahu said, “We feel proud to belong to her village. We try to help her whenever possible. But the government should do something long-term in her interest.” Sahu felt the Indira Awas Yojana accommodation given to her by the government, can be completed for one, with provision for water and sanitation.

When contacted, district collector, Bargarh, expressed ignorance about the dancing star’s plight but assured he would look into the matter. “Since I am new to the district I have not much idea about her condition. But I will take necessary steps to alleviate her suffering,” promised Bhabagrahi Mishra, the collector.

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Entry filed under: Bargarh, Dalkhai, Rasarkeli, Bhamara, Nialmalli, Jaiphula and others, Kosli Culture, Malnutrition, Poverty and hunger, Poverty and Hunger in Koshal region, Region watch, Starvation, State Watch-Monitoring the Odisha State.

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