June 22, 2014

SAHMAT Condemns Threat to Artiste

THROUGH a press statement issued from New Delhi on June 9, 2014, the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) strongly condemned the threat issued to renowned singer Shubha Mudgal in California. There, a pro-Modi supporter of Hindutva threatened Mudgal at a concert, for her vocal and public opposition to the Hindutva forces. The details of this incident have been learnt from a letter sent by Shubha Mudgal from California, written on June 7, 2014. While informing that she was safe and unharmed, she also said she was a little shocked and saddened. While this kind of incident was not unexpected, she could not even imagine that such a thing would occur in California. The letter said the person who threatened the artistes including Mudgal is one of the office bearers of the Sunnyvale Temple where they were to give a performance. He was introduced to the artistes by the organisers of the concert just before the sound check was started. After exchanging pleasantries, however, the person said he wanted to discuss something with Mudgal and asked her to come aside. She then went into the wings with him while the other musicians remained on stage. He then said he had received several e-mails complaining about Mudgal and that these mails accused her of writing “an anti-Modi, anti-Hindu, anti-national letter” to Dr Manmohan Singh. He also said the complainants had asked him not to let any “anti-Hindu activity” take place on the concerned venue. He was then told that he had no right to behave with the artistes in this fashion, and that he should not have accepted the fee he took from the organisers for renting the place or should have asked the organisers to cancel the event. But he had no business to threaten the artistes. He said when he had rented out the hall, he did not know of the “anti-Modi, anti-Hindu activities” of Mudgal, and then he started wagging his finger in her face and barking that he would not tolerate any “anti-Modi anti-Hindu and anti-national activity” there. In the general debate that followed, the man once made a physically threatening advance towards one of the artistes but backed off when all the artistes declared that they would not perform. Anyway, the artistes later took a collective decision not to let down the audience and performed as if nothing had happened. The audience too was very receptive and seemed to have greatly enjoyed the concert. However, it was clear that the organisers expected trouble because the security guys followed the artistes around till the latter left the premises.  The letter said this kind of lumpen activity was not surprising and recalled in this context the killing of a Muslim technologist in Pune and some other incidents. Mudgal and the team returned too India safe on June 10.