'No Qawwali Here': At UP Govt's Event, Danseuse Manjari Chaturvedi 'Forced to Stop' Midway


Lucknow/New Delhi: Sufi-kathak dance form creator Manjari Chaturvedi was allegedly forced to stop her performance midway at an event organised by UP government in Lucknow. The reason was stated to be a 'qawwali' act.

The incident took place in Chaturvedi's hometown where she was invited by the Uttar Pradesh government to perform. However, the artist alleged that while she was performing, the music was stopped and an announcement was made for the next act.

"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)," the danseuse told News18, adding that it was the first time that her act was stopped for being a 'qawwali'.

The artist, whose career spans over two decades, further said that she was allotted 45 minutes for her act and it was pre-planned, yet her performance was stopped an no explanation was provided. "I have performed across the world. I am shocked that this happened to me in Lucknow, my hometown," Chaturvedi said.

The state government, however, has rubbished 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.

"Chaturvedi was done with two performances and third was underway. Since the programme was running late and there was a Braj performance that was yet to happen, we were concerned that the CM may arrive before the show ends. We wanted all performers to get space. But there was possibly some issue with communication between both parties. The dancer's act was stopped and a space was made for the next event," an official said, adding that Chaturvedi's performance was 'appreciated and enjoyed by all', including UP Assembly speaker.

The organisers have also negated the claims, saying that the danseuse's performance was interrupted because of "organisational compulsions and not due to any religious or linguistic basis".

Chaturvedi is a noted Kathak dancer and has performed in more than 300 concerts in 22 countries across globe, including Sydney Opera House. Born and brought up in Lucknow, she was trained in professional category of the dance perform at Kathak Kendra under UP Sangeet Natak Academy.

The artist has also studied 'Abhinay' under Kalanidh Narayan at Protima Bedi's Nrityagra. Chaturvedi's grandfather Justice Hari Shankar Chaturvedi was a High Court judge at Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court, while her father was a professor of Geophysics at IIT Roorkee.