Musician Shubhendra Rao accuses the airline of breaking its sitar
Celebrated Indian classical musician Shubhendra Rao On Friday night he went to social networks and accused Air India of breaking his sitar. Rao accused the airline of mistreating his sitar and said that staff should be sensitized on how to handle musical instruments.
In a long post on Facebook, he said: There it happens again! My Sitar has been shattered once again, this time by our own #AirIndia! I have just arrived in New York to act in the #VedicHeritageInc and this is how my Sitar has arrived. How can someone be so ruthless and insensitive?
"For sure, this has been slit open because there is no way the sitar would break in this fashion. I know many people will come out in support and suggest many things but the simple truth is that airline s and their staff need to be sensitised towards how to handle music instruments."
Last November, Rao had a similar experience while he was travelling to Sydney from Delhi for a concert when his sitar was damaged by another airline .
Rao said he had started an online petition to raise the issue of the safety of musical instruments, but nothing concrete seemed to have happened.
"When does this stop? How can any artist survive if airline s keep breaking their instruments whenever they travel? These days, no one asks me how I am after a journey. They always ask me how my instrument is.
"I had started a petition on www.change.org about two years ago, fighting for the right of artists like me who continue to suffer at the hands of these stupid airline s. Even got a lot of support but eventually, nothing happened since the powers-to-be continue to remain insensitive towards arts and artists."
Tagged Minister of Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri, Secretary of Civil Aviation Pradeep Singh Karola, CMD of Air India Ashwani Lohani , Rao further wrote on Facebook, "Please note that #injustice has happened on our own national carrier and someone needs to take responsibility for this callousness and something drastic needs to be done so that we artists do not continue to suffer, be it at the hands of #AirIndia or any other airline s."
Rao also shared the pictures of his damaged Sitar and said, From the pictures, it is very clear that someone has sliced the sitar open. To have a look at the AKG 411 mic inside? Have they not heard of scan? When they can body scan you, why is it difficult to know that they can easily scan the instrument to find out what the mic is.
I also know that this part of the instrument is the best protected part of the instrument, even with a 3 to 4 inch thick foam inside the fiberglass case that is covered by a thick padded cover.
He insisted that it is a clear case of vandalism, where someone has opened it consciously.
Rao suggested the airline s should pay fine for damaging musical instruments.
"Unless airline s are made to pay heavily when they break music instruments and are made to take responsibility, such cases will continue to happen. They know that they can hide behind rules and go scot-free.
"Just one case of an airline s having to pay heavily to the aggrieved musician and all airline s will toe the line and ensure that musical instruments are treated with care and respect and musician s do not suffer anymore."