tara balgopal and vasisitha narayan singh

Shame: This Is How India Respects Its Talent

At any juncture of time brilliant people, be it scholars, visionaries or artists, etch their names in history and are notable for their work.  While they are valued and cherished; as it should be a requisite and is around the world, it apparently is characteristic for India to ignore and disrepute talent. “Everyone salutes the rising sun, none see the setting”, goes a famous Indian proverb us as ‘proud’ Indians have realized it quite well.  To see such a pool of talent, such brilliant Indians make their country proud only to then be welcome to a disappointing, eerie silence: a segment innumerable talented patriots eventually endure in our nation.

We as Indians have excelled in a multitude of fields: be it in the field of research, literature, art, culture or sports. One simply cannot name a field in which India hasn’t any astounding talent in. Had we only been bothered enough to acknowledge the talented, our nation would’ve been adorned with laurels. We would have been reputed for innumerable achievements. But to a true patriot’s dismay, such is not the case. Let me illustrate some examples in the paragraphs to follow.

Tara Balgopal, a proficient dancer who once mentored Bollywood actress Hema Malini and even the prominent Tennis player Maria Sharapova now leads a desolate life. As this ray of light vanishes with the commencement of dusk, this ‘Tulip’, as affectionately branded by Lord Mountbatten, remains enduring and young. Even the top-notch politicians in her time such as Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Pt Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi, had all put her on a high pedestal for her individuality and prominence in her field.

Also a renowned reader of English at Rajdhani College of Delhi University, Tara has featured in the college ‘hall of fame’, and astonishingly even once bore a postage stamp issued in her tribute. This deity of dance retired in circa 1968, after which the college declined to pay her dues which now sums up to Rupees 2 crores! She currently anticipates justice even after 20 long years, an accomplishment doable only by our judiciary system! The college authorities had even invalidated all of Tara Balgopal’s contributions and years of service as any files affiliated to her have apparently ‘gone astray’ (things don’t just vanish and as no one has taken responsibility of misplacing her files, it must’ve obviously gone astray). The former Delhi CM Sheila Dixit had guaranteed her case would be helped out, but it remains as lumber on the responsible and accountable judiciary of ours!

She is not the only victim of the brilliance of our negligence. The fields of Science and Mathematics were blest with Dr. Vasistha Narayan Singh, who currently dwells in anonymity. Singh possesses a PhD from the University of California and Berkeley. He had lectured in premier institutes like IIT-K, TIFR and ISI, Kolkata. But as ill-luck had it, he now suffers from schizophrenia. A great man such as he, was subsequently omitted by us with no form of aid given by the government. None of these institutes he contributed to extended a helping hand. After spending almost one decade under medical treatment, he chose to live in solitude.

But with the publicity Media has provided to Dr. Narayan Singh, he has consequently continued as a visiting professor with the Bhupendra Narayan Mandal University (BNMU) in Madhepura.

Umpteen reports where Para Olympians have not received their dues isn’t really baffling to anyone. Their situation is on no level varied from the aforementioned underrated greats. They have earned our support yet we remain oblivious to the toil they undertake. With 16 bronzes, 14 silver and 3 gold medals in the recent Paralympic Asian games held in Incheon, South Korea last October, our Indian athletes astounded the lot of us. Oddly we still are unmindful to the names of these finalists.

Even in the film industry in India, the likes of Jahnu Barua, a noted Assamese film maker having a void reputation here may now seem acceptable since numerous other persons bear this similarity. Barua’s Assamese movie “Banani” (forest), has won 15 international prizes, inclusive of the World Peace Prize at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Where I reside, we have guardians of our borders, to whom we once entrusted our safety and once sported medals for their sacrifice; end up as vendors and work other odd jobs to make ends meet. This is a place where reputed International Archers sell earthen pots to earn a living, where once worshipped as almost Gods and goddesses in their field of art now remain forgotten. Whilst we brag and boast of our rich and diverse heritage, our accountable and intriguing history and our varied traditions, we just so happen to render nothing to the greats, the reputed and the intellects we are most fortunate to share our nationality with. Moreover, after their contributions what happens to these profound artists remain uncovered stories. It isn’t unjustifiable to pride ourselves of our vast heritage, but to omit the benefactors of the status quo of India and leave them forgotten is certainly disgraceful.

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