She made than Prime Minister Indira Gandhi behold and starlet with her dance at Delhi 40 years ago. She was than just in teen 16 years old. The movement and rhythmic beats of Sambalpuri dance made the late prime minister moved who finally joined with her in the stage and surprised every one including the dancing ‘star’ herself Gurbubari Mirdha.
“I still remember the event that turned my dance career. I was surprised to see her coming and dancing with me for quite sometime. This was my first visit to Delhi so I was little bit nervous but she managed every thing. Holding my hands she danced with me. Later we photographed with her”, Gurubari, now an ailing and helpless lady said from her faded-memory.
In a half-complete ‘Indira Awash’, she lives with her lover-husband with the glorious memory of her past. The girl, who was on her way to receive several acclamations and felicitation from various organizations after that event is now struggling for her survival as her financial condition does not able to support her daily expenses.
Yes we are talking about the versatile Sambalpur (Dalkhai) dancer Gurubari Mirdha who went to Delhi during 1968 to perform Sambalpuri dance. But her ecstatic dance form and rhythmic body movement on the tune of Sambalpuri beat left every one spell bound including than young Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. She was so attracted towards the dance of Gurubari that she did not control herself and started dancing with her. But now Mirdha is ailing and bed-ridden in her virtually-broken house located in M Gandpali, under the Bijepur police station of Bargarh district, about 85 km from Sambalpur. Her husband Harsh Mirdha is also unfit to do any thing after he broken his leg a year back. The ailing couple lives with the mercy of the villagers.
Gurubari Mirdha, who turned 56 years old, has received numerous awards and citations from various organizations across the state for her performances which include the Orissa Sangit Natak academy, Adivasi bhasa sanskruti academy, Mathkhai Utsav, Bolangir, Lokmohotsav Sambalpur and so on. Ever she was a regular performer of Doordarsan.
The numerous certificates and mementoes that are packed in a bag tell the truth of her glorious past. But now these things have got no value for her as there are not able to quench her hunger. Struggling for her existence puts her in prolong illness. “I have received several awards and mementoes during my 40 years career but now these are meaningless for me as I am now virtually starving”, she said while narrating her story.
The real problems of Gunubari started when her husband Harsa Mirdha sustained multiple fracture injury on his left leg last year. Though the fracture got healed in natural process but it makes his leg shapeless and as a result of which Harsa becomes unfit for any labour work. “Earlier we could manage things from his earning as daily labourer but the fracture on his leg left him jobless” Gurubari said.
Hearing her problems generous persons of Sambalpur have collected some funds and handed over to Mirdha for her medical treatment, ‘but the money given to her is not sufficient’ says retired MD of OHPC KK Supkar ‘as she needs a regular income for her livelihood’.
On the other hand villagers of M Gandpali do realize her contribution to the society and do not hesitate to extend their cooperation to the poverty-stricken couple. “We feel proud to be a resident of the village because of her. So we do contribute her as and when she requires any things. But we feel government should take necessary step to provide her minimum comfort as token of respect to the artist’, Biranchi Sahu, neighbor of Mirdha said.“At least the Indira awash provided by the administration should be immediately completed with provision of water and sanitation”, Sahu added.
When contacted the district collector of Bargarh expressed ignorance about the dancing-star but assured to look after her situation. ‘Since I am new to the district I have not much idea about her. But I will take all necessary steps to look after condition’, Collector (Bargarh) Bhabagrahi Mishra said.