Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh says- “I don’t have the magic stick”, Finance Minister Mr. Pranav Mukherjee also says- “I don’t have the magic stick”, even the Agricultural minister Sh. Sharad Pawar says- “I don’t have the magic stick”. This statement has been the only excuse for last few months, made by the government, on the major issue of inflation in the country. But the irony here is, the Government is so keen to have the magic stick, but the people having the one, have been not appreciated by the Government. The magician who has been making India proud worldwide, has not being honored with Padma shri by the Government.
‘Aadharshila’ a group of writers, journalists and artistes, therefore appeal to the President and Prime minister to recognize magician Samrat Shankar by awarding him a ‘Padma Shri’ for his art and social services.
Mr. Pradeep Sardana, founder President of Aadharshila and himself a renowned film, television and art critic, has written a letter to the President Smt. Pratibha Devi Singh Patil and Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, and expressed anguish at the fact that in the golden history of 57 years of ‘Padma Awards’, only one magician has so far been recognized for this art – P.C. Sarkar – in 1964. Though this art is thriving and containing to entertain millions of Indians every year, no other magician has ever been found worthy of the Padma award which has gone to 2420 personalities in the last 57 years. Magician Samrat Shankar, who has been devoted to the ‘art of magic’ and ‘social welfare’ for last 36 years, is one such personality who has entertained millions of people in India and overseas and also helped to understand magic not merely as an art but also a science
In his letter, Mr Sardana has pointed out that Magician Shankar, who has been making India proud around the world, has been nominated for the ‘Padma Shri’ by the Government of Haryana for the last 14 years.
Magician Shankar has completed 35 years in performing art of magic, and he has held around 25,000 shows all over the world.
Among these, he has devoted 17,000 shows to charity, and donated a huge amount to Chief Minister’s State Relief Funds in various states, the Kargil war, tsunami, floods, and drought relief funds, aided the handicapped and disabled, thus contributing to Social Welfare. In his shows, the magician has attempted to eliminate superstition and promote patriotism, given messages against dowry and towards family planning, at the same time keeping his focus on entertainment – which gives the viewer an outstanding experience.
According to Mr. Sardana, the shows of Magician Shankar have been attended by various notable personalities, from Counselors, Members of Parliament, Chief Ministers , Prime Ministers and even Presidents. All of them had appreciated his art and many of them had personally honored him. But the Indian Government had still not confirmed him for a Padma award.
The art of magic is one of the 64 ancient arts of India. There are many references of this art in ancient ‘Shastras’, ‘Puranas’ and ‘Epics’. But this ancient art is now become an endangered art because of lack of encouragement from the government. We have left with few magicians in the country and amongst them Magician Shankar has been the leading one, who has been performing this art consecutively and is able to make this heritage survive. This is one reason why he deserves to be honored with the Padma award given away at the time of Republic Day every year.
‘Aadharshila’ has been dedicated to promoting and giving honor to art, culture and artistes since 1982. Many artistes presented or awarded by Aadharshila have achieved name and fame in their respective fields.
Some of the more notable Aadharshila awardees include Ustad Bismillah Khan, Birju Maharaj, Shubha Mudgal, Anil Biswas, Tarachand Barjatya, B.R. Chopra, Ramanand Sagar, Surendra Pratap Singh, Kamleswar, Ashok Chkradhar, Surendra Sharma, Asaawri Pawar, Saroja Vaidynathan and Prakash Jha. ‘Aadharshila’ has also been active in preserving arts that are endangered and giving the honor to the artistes who keep them alive.