We at the Screenwriters Association express our heartfelt grief at the sudden demise of Late Sushri Sushma Swaraj (14 February 1952 – 6 August 2019). She succumbed to a cardiac arrest following a heart attack on the night of 6 August.
Swaraj was a renowned Supreme Court lawyer and one of the few politicians admired for fair-mindedness and simplicity. Starting early, at the age of 25 in 1977, she became the youngest cabinet minister of the Indian state of Haryana, and followed it later with becoming the second woman, after Indira Gandhi, to become the Minister of External Affairs India, in 2014.
With our grief-stricken hearts, we express our sincere most gratitude to Swaraj for lending her voice and support to the fight for the rights of screenwriter, lyricists, music composer and singers by endorsing the Copyright Act (2012 Amendment) in the Loksabha. This bill was introduced with the primary objective of ensuring fair revenue sharing to protect the rights of owners (creators and authors) of the copyright, who provide license for any dramatic, artistic, musical or literary work incorporated in cinematic or sound recording form. The bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha on April 19, 2012 by renowned lyricist and cinema writer Shri Javed Akhtar, which was then sent to the Standing Committee. However, the fight for a fair share in revenue and royalty for the creators of scripts and songs faced severe challenges from a section of parliamentarians leaning towards a lobby of producers who did not want this bill to pass. Under these circumstances Sushma Swaraj, as the leader of opposition, vehemently supported this bill and emphatically urged the house to vote in its favour.
Honorary General Secretary Shri Sunil Salgia expresses his warmest of regards with these following words: “In Parliament, we often see the opposition taking a stand to stall the bills proposed by the ruling party. On the contrary, Sushma ji stood in support of creative artists and gave a historic speech in 2012 to support of the bill. This was an exceptional gesture on her part which I will never forget.”
Shri Javed Akhtar, who was at the forefront of the fight to get the Copyright Amendment Act 2012 passed and currently serves as the Chairman of IPRS (Indian Performing Rights Society), tweets the following: “Deeply saddened by Sushma ji’s demise. The Music Fraternity will be indebted to her for magnificent defence of their rights in the Lok Sabha. You were an exceptional person Sushmaji. We will always remain thankful to you.”
The Screenwriters Association and the whole fraternity of screenwriters and lyricists working film, TV and digital media shall be forever indebted to Late Sushma Swaraj for strengthened their cause of fair rights. May her soul rest in peace.
Here’s the link to the brilliant speech by Late Sushma Swaraj in the Lok Sabha on May 22, 2012, as the leader of opposition supporting the Copyright Amendment Bill 2012: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gP7MXv3rbg