The government does not have a house for Zohra Sehgal

Posted: 10 years ago

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The Culture Ministry had approached the Ministry of Urban Development last month with Sehgal's request. Tashi Tobgyal

I'm already 101. If I get the house, it's fine, if I don't, then also it's good with me. I have never begged anyone for anything," says Zohra Sehgal, sitting in a second-floor house in South Delhi's Mandakini Enclave.

The veteran theatre and film actor, whose last movie was the 2007 Amitabh Bachchan-starrer Cheeni Kum, had written to the Union Ministry of Culture in 2011 for allotment of a ground-floor government accommodation anywhere in Central Delhi. The government has now decided she doesn't fall in the admissible age limit of 40-60 years to qualify for the accommodation under artiste quota.

Says Sehgal's daughter Kiran, a renowned dancer: "She can hardly hear or see. She cries in pain whenever she has to be taken to the dentist or for some work outside the house in a wheelchair. It's difficult for her to even take the six steps to the area where she can sit in the sun."

The Culture Ministry had approached the Ministry of Urban Development last month with Sehgal's request. The UD Ministry declined it.

As per norms, an artiste needs to earn less than Rs 20,000 per month and not own any property in the National Capital Region to be eligible for the house. "It is beyond the purview of the ministry, only the Cabinet can approve the accommodation now," says a senior UD Ministry official.

The house where Sehgal currently stays belongs to Kiran. "We do not have the money to buy a ground-floor house. We thought the government would help... We thought she has entertained people for so long," says Kiran.

While age has forced Sehgal to stop working, she still gets offers, adds Kiran. Known for her formidable spirit, the 101-year-old shows little disappointment even now. "I start my day with four glasses of nimbu-paani. Then I do a lot of exercises. I am a Rohilla Pathan, we never give up," she says, posing for the camera. "There is a couplet " Maya ko maya mile kar kar ke lambe haath, Tulsidas gareeb ki koi na maane baat," she says. "The rich only help the rich, there is nobody for the poor."

Winking, Sehgal adds: "You know Gursharan Kaur, the Prime Minister's wife, she calls me amma. I did not even ask her for any favour " she was there at my birthday party last year."


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Posted: 10 years ago
This is so sad..not just her, but so many artists languish once they become obscure
Even the BW 'family' forgets them if they can no longer be of any least Zohra is prominent enough that the newspapers highlighted her condition

Edited by UsernameLoading - 10 years ago
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Posted: 10 years ago
Guys, my only question is, what do these actors do with their money when they are able-bodied and earning? I agree that she was a small-scale actress - nothing big or anything. I mean, I can barely remember the movies she has acted in. However, she was still  and actor and she did make enough for herself to keep an amount aside - to buy a humble plot of land.

It shocks me beyond disblief that actors like Meena Kumari and Madhubala woud die such miserbaly deaths. I heard these blockbusters actresses didn't even have the basic amount aside for their last rites; the two died in poverty.

Bhai, paisa kahan jaata hai?
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Posted: 9 years ago
bahi royalty jo nahi milte in logoon toh yeh toh hoga phir west main sab ko milte hai roalty uske peak kaam per