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An anonymous letter to Rashtrapatiji

July 19, 2008
An unsigned, anonymous letter carrying a New Delhi postmark was delivered to the residence of Anita Ratnam on July 16, 2008. This letter has already been sent out to several members of the dance community across the country. Starting with an attack on Jayant Kastur, Secretary of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, New Delhi, the letter goes on to include dancer Anita Ratnam and senior dance critic Shanta Serbjeet Singh.
Below are the contents of the letter, reproduced with the typographical, grammatical and spelling errors.
Readers are invited to comment if interested.
- Lalitha Venkat


Most respected Rashtrapatiji,
Since you are the head of the famous national Sangeet Natak Academi, this letter is being written. I wish bring you urgent attention how the Secretary of the said national Academi is misusing authority and position for bring himself personal opportunity, awards and rewards.

You may not know that the said Secretary Mr. Jayant Kastuar has been awarded this year's Nrittachudamani prize by the Madras Krishna Gana Sabha. But Krishna Gana Sabha organization is given the grant of the SNA for annual dance festival. This raises questions of ethics as to whether Secretary of any Governement agency can receive awards from an organization he approves funds.

Plus there is another story. The advisor of Krishna Gana Sabha is dance operator Anitha Rathnam who has been trying for four five years to lead lobby to various prominent persons to give her the Padmashri award and the SNA award. Anitha Rathnam recently visited Delhi to deliver the award good news to Mr. Kastuar. Will this lead to return courtesy, and will Anitha Rathnam get the awards soon enough. We can wait to watch.

Main questions pointed out.

Was written permission given to SNA Secretary from you or Academi Chairman Mr. Mirdha before accepting this award.

What is Mr. Kastuar's standing as Kathak dancer that he deserves such an honour when so many other senior Kathak dancers definitely more deserve awards. Because he gets it because of being SNA Secretary post.

Please probe of how SNA has been misused to promote Kastuar as a Kathak artist. He is not at all deserving. Kathak samaj rejects him as dancer with no talent. What teaching has he done. Only one dance critic has praised him. SNA Member Shanta Serbjeet has played big role in Kastuar career promotion. What is link between Anitha Rathnam and Sangeet Natak Academi.

National organizations cannot be made to cheat democracy if they play clever game of certain individuals and vested interest groups.

As patron at top, I just wanted to bring to you notice of such a important issue.

This letter is not signed because ordinary artist like me will be harassed by the above persons all of whom are culture mafia in Delhi and Madras. But all said issues and questions are honest and fully correct.


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