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The inaugural day of the government's ambitious project of "mapping" culture had kindled hope among the town's artistes, but has ended up disappointing many of them.
The event, kicked off by Culture Minister Mahesh Sharma here yesterday, was attended by a large number of artistes from Mathura, but many complained they felt let down.
Painter Yogesh (24) thought it was a "useless" event, while Krishna Murari (30) complained the government only wanted to "hear applause from their followers".
"The project sounds good, but nothing is going to come out of it. We will just go back to our lives, where there is no money and no real work for us," Yogesh said.
The National Mission on Cultural Mapping of India seeks to register artistes across the country with their location in an online database. It will also select 100 artistes from different art forms through competitions spread over three years. The ministry will award the winner of each discipline Rs 10 lakh, with 20 per cent of the prize money going to the artiste's teacher.
The programme took off from Mathura, where artistes displayed their work, and participated in a block-level competition. Winners will move on to the next level, and after a series of such levels, the final winner in each discipline will be selected nationally.
The two painters from Govardhan, who had come to the venue early in the morning, claimed nobody visited their stall to take a look at their art.
"If this is a competition, then where are the judges? No government official or any judge has stopped by and looked at our work," Yogesh, who holds a bachelor's degree in Fine Arts, said.
Another painter, Govind Prasad Kaushik (26), had a similar complaint to voice.
Standing next to his deserted stall full of paintings, he pointed out there were no buyers for his work.
"We make one portrait on canvas for about Rs 1500-1800, and though we wish to sell it for about Rs 5,000, it is extremely difficult to find buyers," he said.
Kaushik said he thought the competition would lead to recognition. "We hoped people would take note, but nobody even walked up to us," he said, winding up for the day.
Singer, harmonium player and tailor Parsoti (36), of Sakarwa village, said people were "naive" to believe the government.
"Most people have come here expecting their lives will change with this project as the minister said. But people are naive. You tell them happy tales and they will clap," he said.
Ramju (35) and Rameswar (30), who sing at religious events, were not among those who thought the event would change their lives. They were there, they said, because their village pradhan, had asked them to take part in the event.
"BJP workers in our village have been going around with a loudspeaker talking about this event. Then our village pradhan asked us to take part in it. So, we came," said Ramju.
He was not sure if the Mathura competition would help him, but said he had little to lose.
"We are not sure if it will help our work. We anyway don't earn much so we don't really have too many options to look at," said Ramju.
While the project officially kicked off yesterday, the registrations in the database have been carrying on for a year.
According to the minister, the cultural mapping portal www.Culturalmappingofindia.Nic.In has so far registered over one crore artistes.
The website, however, only shows the name and age of an artiste without any information on skills.
The mission seeks to open a direct channel of communication of artists with the government and peer-to-peer communication among artistes.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)