My name is Shamsul. I am originally from Bihar, I ran away from my home at the age of seven and came to Delhi and became a permanent resident of New Delhi Railway Station. Hardships of surviving a life between the railway tracks. Here though I was faced with many challenges of a life between the fast tracks.
Eventually Salaam Baalak Trust (NGO Delhi) spotted me, offering me food and shelter. From that point forward my fortunes changed: I was given regular meals, a place to stay and most importantly, an education. Rehabilitated in 2003.
2003. First time mai Astad sir se mila tha. jab mai Salaam Baalak Trust ka annual day choreography kiya tha. aur India Habitat Centre me show chal raha tha aur Astad Deboo sir humare mukhiye guest the.
2003. I first met Astad Sir when I had choreographed the annual day function of the Salaam Balak Trust (SBT) at the India Habitat Centre, he was the chief guest.
Astad ji mere liye sab kuch hai aur rahenge, meri life me Astad ji ek Father aur Farishtey rahenhai. main Sir ko apna father hi manta hoon!
Astadji meant everything for me and will remain so. He was like a Father and an Angel. I consider him as my Father.
I JOIN Astad Deboo sir
2007 me jab unka street children ke saath ek dance project chal raha tha. to sir SALAAM BAALAK TRUST (Delhi) aaye bachcho ke saath apna Project karne, Tab Mai”n is Project me nahi tha. mene Apne ek dost se Request Kiya ki Sir se puchna ki Shamsul Naam ka ek ladka hai (SBT) ka. vo bhi joint karna chahta hai. aur aisa hi hua. tab se abhi tak mujhe sir ne bahot kuch sikhaya aur bahot pyaar diya.
2007. He was doing a dance project with street children. He went to Delhi to work with the children of the Salaam Balak Trust. I wasn’t in this project then. I requested a friend of mine to ask Sir that there is a boy named Shamshul from SBT who also would like to join. And this is exactly what happened. Since then till date, Sir has taught me a lot and loved me a lot.
2020 se pehle humne 5 full Dance Project kiye, jis me Astad sir ko Assist karta raha.
(1) BREAKING BOUNDERIES
(2) INTERPRETING TAGORE
(4) INAI (collaboration with NATYE DANCE THEATRE CHICAGO) and
(5) UNBROCKEN UNBOWED
I have assisted Astadji with 5 full dance projects till 2020.
mene aur bhi kae saare logo ke saath kaam kiya Par astad sir ke kaam karne ka tarika bahot alag hai, astad sir ne apne saath kaam karne waalo ko hamesha bahot liberty diya hai, apne kaamo ke liye, jab koi naya kaam banate the to hume bahot liberty milta tha choreography ke liye ya phir koi naya suggestion dene ke liye. in douraan sir se bahot ANMOL ANMOL chize sikhne ka mouka mila.
jaise- Dance, Designing, stage light sense, Music selection test, Costumes and dance Choreography. in sab ke alawa sir ne hume har moud par hamesha kuch na kuch sikh diya. jaise life style, society me apni pehchaan banana, Humesha ZARURAT MANDH ki madat karna, Family aur Friends ka khayal rakhna, sab se jaruri baat, APNE AAP KI AUR APNE KAAM, KALA KI IZZAT KARNA SHIKHO.
I’ve worked with a lot of other people but the manner of working with Astad Sir is very different, Astad Sir gave us a lot of liberty for our work, when he would create a new work he would give us a lot of liberty for choreography or for giving a new suggestion.
During this process, there were opportunities to learn unique things from him – like dance, designing, stage light sense, music selection test, costume and dance choreography.
Apart from this, Sir taught us something at every juncture, like lifestyle, how to make a name in society, always help the needy, take care of family and friends, most importantly, LEARN TO RESPECT ONSELF, ONE’S WORK AND ART.
2018 me astad sir ek “JED” ka Fashion ka Project kar rahe the, Jiske liye mene Big giant Puppet banaya tha. hum 6 log delhi se mumbai gaye.
2018. I had made a big giant puppet for Astad Sir for the JADE Fashion project. 6 of us travelled from Delhi to Mumbai.
2020 me UNBROCKEN UNBOWED ke kae saare INTERNATIONAL shows ki baate chal rahi thi, 3,4 tour to humara fix bhi hogaya tha,
2020. Discussions for international tours of UNBROKEN UNBOWED were on, 3 – 4 were fixed.
PHIR 2020 me LOCKDOWN ke douraan jab sab kuch band ho gaya tha. hum sab ko bahot problem ka saamna karna pada. kuch kaam nahi koi income nahi bahot dikkat hone lagi thi. sir humesha humsab se baate karte rehte the, pehle 1,2 mahine kuch jyada jarurat mandh ki madat karte rahe.
kuch na kuch naya sochne ke liye humesha prerit karte rehte the. phir sir se humne puchcha ki kya hum log bhi ki ONLINE ke liye tyaar kar sakte hai. sab ne kaahan HAAN. We started creating work for online called “BOUNDAREIS” SERIES, Boundaries, Boundaries -1, Boundaries-1.1. hum apna kaam banate aur sir is kaam ko dikha kar apne chahne waalo se Help ke liye Request karte the. sir ne mujhe bataya tha ki bachche chahe paise waale hi kyon na ho. par paise nikalwana asaan kaam nahi hai mujhe bahot sunna padta hai.
kaha ki pata karo kin kin ko bahot jyada madat ki jarurat hai abhi. mene kae naamo ke list tyaar kiya jarurat mando ki jarurat ko samajh kar, aur sir ke paas bhi ek list tha. dono list ko milaya to har mahine kabhi 50 Jarurat mandh TO kabhi 70 to kabhi 35 log,
Astad sir mujhe Har mahine kabhi 1 LAKH, to KAbhi 2, Bhejte the aur mai list ke according unke account me bhejta tha. kabhi 30 logo ko to kabhi 40 to kabhi 25, kabhi 65 ko. ye silsila April 2020 se shuru hua, kisi mahine ye madat ka kaam ruka nahi. sir hamesha sab ko bharpur pyar karte hai
Lockdown (Covid 19)
Then in 2020 during the lockdown when all work shut down, we all faced a lot of problems, no work so no income and it became very difficult. Sir would always talk to all of us, for the 1-2 months he helped those who were most needy. He would keep insisting us to think something new.
Then we asked Sir if we could prepare something online and he agreed… We started creating work for online called “BOUNDAREIS” SERIES, Boundaries, Boundaries -1, Boundaries-1.1. we would create something online and Sir would ask his friends and followers for help. Sir had told me that child even if someone is rich it’s very difficult to make them pay and they harass.
Find out who needs to be helped the most. I had a list of the needy with their needs and sent Sir, he also had a list. After matching them he would financially support 50, 70 or 35 people per month, with 1 or 2 lakhs… Sir would send money to their accounts – 30 – 40, 25, 65… he started in April 2020 and didn’t stop. Sir always loved us a lot.
2020 December. sir hospitalize ho gaye the par kabhi bhi himmat nahi haari, humesha video call kar ke baate karna, sab ke baare me puchhna, sab ko aane waale time ke liye achchi salah dena,
2020 December. Sir was hospitalised but didn’t give up. He would always make video calls, ask after everyone, gave good advice for the future.
10th December 2020 midnight jab mujhe around 2am ko pata chala ki Sir nahi rahe…..Kuch samajh nahi aa raha tha ki kya karun aur kya na karun. 1ghante baad hi mere gaon se bhi call aaya ki mere father ko heart attack aaya hai. bahot serious condition me hai, kya karun…… aisa laga ki achanak meri duniya khatam hogae hai. COVID19 ka time hone ke kaaran jyada logo ko is baare me bataya bhi nahi gaya. aur humme se koi nahi mumbai ja sakta…
10th December 2020 midnight. Around 2 am I came to know that Sir is no more… didn’t understand what to do and what not…1 hour later I got a call from my village that my father had a heart attack, is in serious condition. I felt that suddenly my world ended. Due to Covid 19 couldn’t tell many people and none of us could travel to Mumbai.
Sir ke chale jaane ke baad bhi madat ka silsila ruka nahi. Gulshan didi se jab bhi mene kisi ke liye madat mangi unho ne mana nahi kiya aur 4,5 mahine aur ye silsila kuch logo ke liye chalta raha. sir ke jaane ke baad bhi sir ne kuch logo ke liye bahot kuch CHHOD kar aur BAHOT MADAT kar ke gae hai.
Even after Sir left the help continued, whenever I asked Gulshandidi for help she never refused and this continued for another 4 -5 months for others. Even after Sir left he helped many and left behind a lot.
IN HIS MEMORY
We Started a Trust “MOVING SUTRA FOUNDATION” Jo ki Astad Deboo sir ke Vichaardhaara, ARTS aur Artist ke liye. Moving Sutra Foundation Aane waale saalo me “ASTAD DEBOO” ke naam se dance festival bhi karegi!
IN HIS MEMORY
We Started a Trust “MOVING SUTRA FOUNDATION” with Sir’s thoughts and perspectives for ARTS and Artist. In the coming years, the Moving Sutra Foundation will start a dance festival in the name of Astad Deboo.
Note: kuch reh gaya ho, jo mai nahi likh paya to bata dena ma`am (if something remains, that I could not write, then please convey it Ma’am.)
On December 11, 2022, Shamshul and his team – Pawan Waghmare, Rohit, Govind Godiyal, Narayan Sharma, Pradeep Kumar, Pankaj Gupta, Milind Srivastava, Avinash Kumar – paid a moving tribute to their Guru, friend and someone they considered their father Astad Deboo, at IF BE, Mumbai, as part of the exhibition on Astad, called ‘Breaking Boundaries’ – A retrospective on the life of Astad Deboo: a journey through his time, work and vision.
The exhibition on the life, vision and work of Astad Deboo has been conceptualised like going on a journey with him – trekking and hitchhiking, heartbroken during his struggles, applauding his successes, in rhythm with his dance moves.
Some photographs and a video from 11th December are given below. The group photograph with Shamshul’s team is with Astad’s family – Kamal and Gulshan, his sisters, Xerxes, Danish, Neha and Zen.
Thank you Shamshul and your team – you left us spellbound and in tears!!!
The post is from the personal tribute written by Shamshul in an email he sent to me, as part of the research for the exhibition. I have taken the liberty of translating to English, the original text written by him is in Hindi (in blue). Kindly forgive if there is some mistake in the translation.
The exhibition has been conceived by the design team at EuMo, led by Gary Grewal and Shanoo Bhatia, and curated by Poulomi Das, and runs from December 10 – 17, 2022.