• Performer stopped midway for dancing to “Qawwali”

    Sabrang India

    January 20, 2020

    Manjari Chaturvedi/Twitter

    At an event that took place in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, famous Sufi-kathak dancer, Manjari Chaturvedi, was invited by the UP government to perform. It came as a rude shock to her when she was allegedly forced to stop her performance midway. The reason being, it was a qawwali act.

    Manjari, whose career spans 2 decades, alleged that while she was performing, the music was stopped and an announcement was made for the next act. The danseuse told News18, "I thought it was a technical glitch but then the next act was announced. It was clear that this was not an error. When I enquired, I was told 'qawwali nahi chalegi yahan' (qawaali cannot happen here)."   She said this was the first time in her career that her performance was stopped for being a qawwali. She further said, “"I have performed across the world. I am shocked that this happened to me in Lucknow, my hometown."

    The UP government has however denied the allegations and cited ‘some issue’ between the organisers and the performer. The government said that the act had to be completed before the arrival of Yogi Adityanath as a dinner was arranged with the chief minister. Since, the programme was running late, it had to be trimmed. An official gave clarification that they wanted to keep space for performance of other artists and hence they had to cut short Manjari’s performance. He also added that her performance was 'appreciated and enjoyed by all', including UP Assembly speaker.

    Even the organisers gave a statement that the performance was interrupted due to "organisational compulsions and not due to any religious or linguistic basis".

    First published in Sabrang India.

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