Monthly plan to access Budget

Journalism of Courage

Dance teacher loses livelihood to Covid pandemic, Delhi Police helps him find job

But he found no takers for his dancing skills in the national capital. When he ran out of money, he started to live in 'Rain Basera', a night shelter for homeless people in the city.

It was here the Delhi Police found him and helped him to get a job at a restaurant.

Distraught after he lost his livelihood in Mumbai due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year, 44-year-old dance teacher Balaji Sawalkar arrived in Delhi to start life afresh.

But he found no takers for his dancing skills in the national capital. When he ran out of money, he started to live in ‘Rain Basera’, a night shelter for homeless people in the city.

It was here the Delhi Police found him and helped him to get a job at a restaurant.

Talking to PTI, Sawalkar said he is a professional dancer and had been performing for the past 20 years. He said he had opened a dance academy called ‘Bali Step of Dance Classes’ at Saki Naka in Mumbai in 2013.

Subscriber Only Stories
Read |Delhi: Cop’s daughter strangled, accused on the run

Sawalkar said he also has a registered company named ‘Bali Events and Entertainment LLP’ but it has been closed for now.

“I had a dance institute in Mumbai which has been closed due to the Covid-19 as the premises were on rent and I did not have funds to run it anymore. I was running out of money and left Mumbai. When I moved out of Mumbai, I went to four to five students’ homes at different places, including Odisha and Bihar.”

“I was exploring whether I can open a new academy, but I saw the situation as same there,” Sawalkar said.


He reached the national capital by train on Diwali, November 4, last year to explore more possibilities.

“I reached here and initially was living at Bangla Sahib Gurudwara. Later, I shifted to a nearby Rain Basera. The arrangements at the Rain Basera are good and we get food. The SHO sir came at the Rain Basera and chose some persons, including me, to help in getting some livelihood.”

“I have joined Sandoz at Connaught Place on Friday (January 18) in food packaging department. I was informed that I will get Rs 18,000 salary per month. My aim is to continue as a dance teacher. However, as I am not getting it now (teaching dance), I have decided to work to earn something for a living,” he said.


Sawalkar claimed, “I have done two world tours. I have performed in almost every award shows of Bollywood with famous actors.”

He said he got married in 2007 but it did not last long and has to be called off within eight months.

“When the SHO sir asked me about my interest of area, I told him that I am a dance teacher and want to continue it. The SHO sir said that they will try to find me a suitable job. He sent me to Sandoz to restart earning livelihood till the time I get a job in dancing. I am also thinking to apply in schools for dance teacher,” he said.

Sawalkar said he had 85 students when his institute got closed. He was also about to start classes in the school where he studied.

“I hope that the situation gets better soon so that I can start my institute, which is like a school for me,” he said.


Station House Officer of Connaught Place police station Upender Singh said the initiative to clear the area around Hanuman Mandir, which is among the most visited temples in Connaught Place, and subways was started in November in 2021.

The area has been cleared in collaboration with other agencies including civic bodies and the Delhi Fire Services.


Around 400 people were shifted from the area and sent to shelter homes at different places. Nine senior citizens were shifted to NGO “The Earth Saviours Foundation’ at Gurgaon in Haryana. While shifting them, we took the help of Delhi State Legal Services Authority (DLSA) and asked NGO called Society for Promotion of Youth and Masses (SPYM) to work with us in the cause.”

“We also made announcements in the area and spread awareness. We wanted to make the area safer and the lives of the homeless better. We selected eight persons from Rain Basera for jobs of different profile according to their qualifications. Sawalkar has got a job in Sandoz, one person got job in another restaurant and three others got job in a tent house,” Singh said.


Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Deepak Yadav said, “We saw that a lot of homeless people sleep outside Hanuman Mandir and they survive on the food and donation provided by the devotees. We spoke to them and encouraged them to move to shelter homes.”

“We tied up with a number of shelter homes for shifting these people. Instead of living on the streets, they are now living at dignified places. We also tied up with a number of NGOs for their skill empowerment. We tried to get jobs for a few people who already have a certain kind of skill.”

According to police, among 400 people living around the place, several went back to their native places. Around 10 to 15 were booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) and one was booked under the Excise Act.

First published on: 20-02-2022 at 15:14 IST
Next Story

How Afghanistan’s humanitarian crisis could impact global security

Next Story