Press Statement of Gehana Vasisth on the denial of permission for her New Year Bash in MP

According to media reports, Gehana Vasisth was scheduled to perform at an outdoor venue in MP on New Year’s Eve. Along with her about 20 dancers, choreographers, other artistes and technicians are impacted by the local authorities and MP government’s decision to deny permission to the event on the excuse of ‘law and order problems’. Why are there no law and order excuses during Holi or Ganpati or Dandiya, one of the organizers asked.

In a statement released to media persons in Mumbai on the denial of permission by authorities for her New Year Bash in Madhya Pradesh Gehana Vasisth said:

“I have been training and practicing for the last 10 days with my choreographer. All these years there have been New Year eve celebrations all over India. Big-ticket shows are organised by event companies and popular Hindi Bollywooda and regional music is played. Even Dandiya or Garba shows play Bollywood and other regional music with performers. If Dandiya is allowed, with huge fanfare and tickets running into thousands, why not New Year celebrations. New Year is not a religious festival and various communities all over the world celebrate it. A wild guess – all the event organisers in India, are Hindus and thousands of people earn money through these shows which are a source of entertainment and enjoyment for all. There is nothing vulgar in celebrating New Year and dancing to Bollywood music.

The event in MP was apparently denied permission because I was connected to the Miss Bikini Asia event many years ago and several of my bikini images are online. This has nothing to do with the event. I was not scheduled to perform in a bikini, but in Bollywood costumes. Such Bollywood nites with item song performances are held at marriages and events throughout the year. Why ban them only on New Year’s Eve. Has India become a Taliban-ruled nation, where our CMs and the PM have nothing to say in this regard? Right-wing groups all over the country are dictating terms to the administration in direct contravention to what the Constitution of India says and guarantees every citizen. The MP administration has not given any official event for denying permission for my event, only unofficially citing law and order problems. My event organizers have decided to challenge this in the High Court or may move the event to another state. There is hardly any time now and we are all very worried and harassed.

Certain right-wing groups are opposing these shows in MP and UP because they claim that New Year is celebrated vulgarly. If anyone sees the Ganpati processions in Mumbai, one will see women and young girls whose clothes are wet, dancing to glory on the roads. Same is the case on Holi, when even women joyfully consume bhang. What is wrong to these right-wing groups. Why do they want to destroy the livelihood of thousands of poor Indians and manual laborers who benefit from these shows.

If they want to ban New Years’ they must also ban Holi, Ganpati and Dandiya where similar songs are played and men and women dance in a similar fashion. While bhang is consumed during Holi, people consume alcohol on New Year’s Eve parties. There is nothing Western or Christian or religious in such celebrations.

I have spent nearly 50,000 from my own pocket and the organizers of my show in MP have already spent several lakhs. I want the Prime Minister and the CMs of all the States to clarify on this matter. Which States do not want to have New Year Celebrations – organizers must be told in advance. Which States do not want tourists to come to them, which states do not want people to let their hair down and enjoy their hard earned money, we the people of India need a clarification.”

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