Astad Deboo turns down award 
- Lalitha Venkat, Chennai 
September 26, 2007 

Contemporary dancer Astad Deboo is currently touring the US on performing, teaching and workshop assignments. In Washington DC, he found the classes very interesting for the professors of the theatre department wanted him to discuss his work, the process he uses in developing his work, how he decides on the people who he works with and so on. 

The dance dept according to Deboo is also very stimulating for each class has a varied excellence of students. One class he taught comprised of all sports people and one of his performances was attended by a section of students who are runners, swimmers and basketball players. Their appreciation of the physical and control aspect of his work is something that Deboo considers really special. 

Amidst his busy schedule in the US, Astad Deboo decided to turn down the GAURAV PURUSKAR award for which he was nominated by the Gujarat state govt. Reproduced below is his official letter in which he states his reasons. Astad was honored with the Padma Shri earlier this year.  

Astad Deboo
B6 Shapur Baug
V P Road 
Mumbai 400 004

20th September 2007       
Mr. N.C. Shah
Member Secretary
Gujrat State Sanget Natak Akademi
Block 9,1st floor
Dr.Jivraj Mehta Bhavan
Gandhinagar 382010
Dear Mr. Shah,

Thank you for your letter dated September 8th, 2007. 
I am humbled and honoured at being felicitated with the Gaurav Puruskar in the field of dance by the Gujarat Sangeet Natak Akademi.
In my previous correspondence to you prior to my departure for the USA I had accepted the award.

But upon serious reflection I have decided not to accept the award because I do not believe in the policies of the current government in Gujarat and its actions. Since the award is given by the state government, I cannot in good conscience accept it.
I am sorry for the inconvenience caused to you.

I am proud to be an Indian and an artist. But the violence perpetrated upon the people of Gujarat under this government leaves me with no choice except to disassociate myself from all its actions. In the end I must be true to myself and my faith in secularism.  I believe in an inclusive India for all Indians irrespective of their caste and faith.

I am sure my fellow Indians will understand and support me in my decision.


Astad Deboo