`Beggar artiste` gets lucrative offers
THATTA: The adage `better be late than never` fits fine in the case of the forlorn folk singer whose despondency appears to be coming to an end after the pouring in of sympathies both in cash and kind.
The federal ministry of information came into action, the moment it learnt about the miserable condition of the forgotten folk singer and TV artist Zeenat Shaikh.
The ministry has in principle decided a lifetime grant of Rs10,000 for the artist but its announcement would be made only after arranging an evening at the Radio Pakistan Hyderabad Station with Zeenat Shaikh on coming Saturday.
Director General, Radio Pakistan, Murtaza Solangi told Dawn that the announcement would be made gracefully and in recognition to meritorious service of Thatta-based folk singer.
Mr Solangi said that he was moved by the story published in Dawn depicting the miserable conditions a vibrant artist of yesteryears was forced to pass through due to the apathy of the society.
This correspondent acted as a mediator between the DG Radio Pakistan and the artist when the former invited the latter to attend an evening which was being arranged in her honour.
Mr Solangi said that Radio Pakistan was not oblivion to the state of its aged artists as it was providing grant in aid to famed classical singer Ustad Shagan and folk singer Gul Bahar Faqir, affiliated with Khairpur Radio Station.
Station Director, Radio Pakistan, Hyderabad, Naseer Mirza also talked with the artist Zeenat Shaikh who regrettably was begging on Thatta streets to eek out a living. Arranging an evening with the artist was meant to uphold the social status, dignity and honour of Zeenat Shaikh who unfortunately was a prey to circumstances.
Naseer Mirza personally visited her thatched hut on Wednesday to deliver the invitation. He also recorded an hour-long interview of Zeenat Shaikh which would be aired on Thursday by Radio Pakistan Hyderabad. The chief guest of the evening would be Federal Minister for Culture Pir Aftab Shah.
DCO Mohammad Jaffar said that the district government had also earmarked a handsome amount for the artiste.
A philanthropist from Karachi had also announced lifetime monthly payment of Rs1,000 per month to Zeenat Sheikh.
It`s a tragedy that a number of public and private circles took interest in the condition of artist sans the Sindh Culture Department.