Extensive effort to save Kumar Kancha proved to be unsuccessful and he died at the age of 54 on January 17, 2011. The sad truth, he lost all of his monetary earnings during the treatment and had to beg for help in his last days, from his death bed.
A lot of people had done their very best to help in collecting fund to help in his treatment.
Special mention : Donation collection drive one of my friends in the UK, Lex Limbu, came to an abrupt end when Kancha died. He sent a total of £800 GBP (NRs. 91,600) collected till date via Jharana Bajracharya to the fmaily of Kumar Kancha. It is really encouraging to see young people like Lex dedicating their time in helping artists in Nepal. Thank you Lex!
It is not only the death of Kumar Kancha or Gopal Bhutani, similar deaths are common among Nepali artists. Something should be done to prevent such tragedies in the future.
Four of my proposals to help reduce such tragedies in the future are:
- Insurance – Artists are called "ornaments" of a country. The country should safeguard its ornaments by insuring their safety. All artists should be provided health insurance. (I had talked about it previously) There might be a technical problem in defining an "Artist" but, it can be be taken care by method discussed in point 4.
- Minimum Pay – I have heard that Gopal Bhutani was a very ‘cheap’ (cost-wise) artist. So, he died poor. There should be a guideline to fix a minimum per-hour pay for different acting roles and other jobs.
- Artist Welfare Body – A private and non-profit, artist welfare body should be formed to safeguard the interests of artists. The body can act as a coordinator of various efforts done by individuals to help an artist. For example, such organization could have coordinated individuals like Lex Limbu, Namrata Shrestha, and other individuals who did their best to help Kumar Kancha. It could also have voiced for the citizenship certificate for Gopal Bhutani. It can also handle artist’s grievance and regular interaction between artists.
- Artist Definition – There should be a quantitative definition of an artist’s importance and the benefits that artist can get from the government or organizations like welfare bodies. The definition should be quantitative and measurable, so that there is no dispute in the categorization.
Let’s hope, Nepali artists will live better lives in the future.