Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Bazaar Puppet Play

I had done puppet plays in schools, colleges, libraries, community halls, colonies cultural centres and spaces. Doing in the midst of the bazaar or market place was something unique, exciting and challenging too. Maybe I should say, my dream of playing in the market place has come out true.

I always, thought the crossroads junctions and market places are the best places for public awareness programmes.

We got to play not once but thrice in the market places of Jainoor Mandal bazaar-Jainoor, Kerimeri Mandal bazaar-Kerimeri and Indervelli Mandal Bazaar-Indervelli.

A mandal is a administrative division. It is a head town under which number of villages come.

All three market places were quite crowded, as it is the during the market day when all the villagers of the mandal come for purchasing provisions, groceries, clothes, selling vegetables, to buy agriculture related things. It's fun, frolic, colourful to watch Gonds tribal men and women in the market place. It is also place for meeting, getting acquaintances, rejoice and so on.

By the time we started setting up the stage and playing music, good crowd gathered to watch the amusement. As one of our Puppet peeped out, there was loud laugh, scream and many gathered back stage to find out whereabouts of puppets. Though the play was of 12 minutes duration, still we could manage the show for 30 minutes.There were comments of all kinds coming to us. some agreeing to the concept played, some not, some admiring the female puppet and so on.

At Kerimeri Mandal weekly bazaar, we did experience some chaos kind but the officer in charge of ITDA Utnoor, handled it smoothly and elegantly.

At Indervelli mandal bazaar, we performed on a mini truck midst rain.This was enthralling one.

The whole traffic came to an halt creating jam, busses, cars, autos were honking horns, full of commotion, some where taking pictures with mobile handsets, some video shooting it, some danced tothe music along with puppets...

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

"Mava Jiva Mava Aasti"-Puppet Play on Health Awareness for Gonds Tribes, by Gonds Tribe in Gondi Dialect

"Mava Jiva Mava Aasti"-Puppet Play on Health Awareness for Gonds Tribes, 
by Gonds Tribe in Gondi Dialect

A puppet play was performed in Gondi Dialect on August 15, 2016 at  Police Parade Ground, Adilabad. This was an experiment highlighting tribal health issues,  rigid superstitious believes and practices and services for the tribes by Integrated Tribal Development Agnecy-ITDA, Utnoor, Adilabad.

An attempt made to present the same in Gondi dialect by Gond Tribe youth of Adilabad, Telangana

Puppet Play for Gond Tribes by Gond Tribes and in Gond Tribal belt of Adilabad

India is the home to a large number of aboriginal people known as Adivasi meaning tribal people. These primitive tribal people live in secluded places near like hillocks, forest zones, away from the by the lifestyle of the modern world. These tribal people are the poorest in the country, who is still dependent on gathering food, hunting, agriculture, and fishing. The tribal people have their own culture, tradition, language and lifestyle. This allows outsiders to get an insight into many different cultures of tribal India.

Tribes in India constitute 8.61% of the total population of the country, numbering 104.28 million (2011 Census). Raja Gonds tribes are one among them. Gonds tribes (Tribes are known as Adivasi) are spread across Telangana, Maharashtra and are also in Madhya Pradesh. Adilabad District of Telangana is a hub of Gonds, Kolams, Andha, Pradhan, Thoti, Nayakpod and other primitive tribes. Gonds dominate in number over other tribes.

The Indian Constitution recognizes only 22 languages –out these only two are adivasis languages, namely, Santhali and Bodo that are included in the Schedule of Languages. However, there are numerous tribal languages that have not found recognition or in the education system.

Gonds speak Gondi language, whereas, Kolams speak Kolami--it’s quite new, interesting and funny too. Interestingly, Gondi language belongs to Dravidian family of language and is related to Tamil and Kannada. I liked the language and as an eager language learner, I am now learning this language

"Samdirkun Ram Ram", "Sandir Chokad Mantir?", "Nemot Chokad Mandana, Mamotta Chokata Mandana, Samdir Chokota mandana", “Bonn batalata, Vyaha.. Bheemu Vyaha…” “Bagamanti?” “Gato Thintii?”---This is Gondi

“Sadaran Ram Ram”, “yenanga Andatir?” , “Soya Andatira?”… this is Kolami.

A Kolam tribe can speak Gondi well but a Gond can’t speak Kolami language that easily is a general perception.

Had a splendid time going to the remote village on the hillock, midst of the thick Jodenghat forest, the glimpse of different shades of greens, water streams, waterfalls, valley, marshy roads, under sun and thunder…. It was fun and a good learning exposure. The morning freshness filled with fresh air, chirping of birds, cries of the infants, tribal women gladded in colourful gochi style sari.. oh!!! it was a new kind of experience for me.

There are villages with no power supply or with frequent power failures, remotely located, no access to the main road or public transport, medical facilities and so on. Yet a learning experience for me to know how confidently they lead their life and are quite happy and content with lifestyle.

Even though the basic needs were not met or accessible to them, they did not grumble or so. Maybe, they are used to it or they do not consider them as the major issues to grumble upon. Or maybe, their basic needs are quite different....

It was our fortune to be part of Health Awareness campaign programme of the Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA), Utnoor, Adilabad to spread awareness on health issues using puppets among Gonds, Kolams, Lambadas in six mandals agencies of ITDA for six days. On the whole, we could cover 10-12 villages and around 30 ashram schools. The six mandals are Jainoor, Indravelli, Narnoor, Kerimeri, Sirpur (U) and Utanoor.

The ITDA wanted us to spread the health awareness message across the adivasis to reach out to the government-sponsored medicare, facilities for pregnant women and control pills given for free to check and prevent Malaria, diarrhea, dengue and viral fever.

The play is "Mava Jiva Mava Asthi" Health Awareness Puppet play presented in Gondi Language in six ITDA Utnoor Agency Mandals, Adilabad from August 25th to 30th, 2016 by Sphoorthi Team members: HK .Puneesh, Soyam Bheem Rao, Boyini Prakash and Kodapa Gajanand.

It was a completely new experiment to present a puppet play in Gondi language (the language widely spoken and understood by all tribes), for Gonds, Kolams and Lambada tribes, by Gond, Kolam and Koya youth.

Firstly, we and our puppets were accepted as both spoke in Gondi language. Again, we did receive a mix response about the play on health awareness and also this paved wave to the insight of status of indigenous medicinal practices among tribes, working of health department, reasoning for the failure of health services not reaching the tribes at the right time, insufficient health workers, or over workload assignment rested on the shoulders of the health workers and the health department.

Are these tribes who have educated youth in their families still are unaware of the modern health facilities support extended by ITDA?

The reasons for their hesitation non-acceptance or take modern medicinal pills?

Reasons for the prevalent ground superstitious practices (as it is called by non-tribes) among tribes with which the tribal community is quite comfortable.

However, all said and done, the puppet play lead to the healthy interaction and feedback which is the essential document for the ITDA, health department, health workers, teachers, village heads, leaders and Gond tribal community at large.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Return of Flamingos-"Combination of Dance and Shadow Puppetry"

Return of Pink Flamingos

       Little Rann of Kutch (LRK), Gujarat State of India is the breeding place for Flamingos every year.
In a slightly uncommon occurrence, thousands of eggs have been deserted by flamingos in one of the six breeding colonies in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK)-according to the sources February 10, 2015http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/flora-fauna/.

      Bird watchers and experts, accredit the drying up of water at the site of breeding. "Flamingos normally stay with their chicks till they grow up and rear  the chicks with great care for a period of a one-and-a-half month.  The practice of abandoning their eggs and chicks is done only in extraordinary conditions".

Flamingos are found mostly along the coastal areas of Gujarat like Porbandar and Jamnagar. The Greater Flamingoes' favorite destination is The Great Rann of Kutch, which is also known as Flamingo City.

Ameenpur Lake in Hyderabad is  known for flamingo habitats. It is due to the  verge of lake drying up due to rising temperatures affecting the migration of birds, including flamingos this year. 

    Again, the flamingos require salt covered damp mud to build nests. Further, the place where the nest is built has to be remote and  inaccessible to human and predatory intervention. Nevertheless, there should be sufficient food available for flamingos. LRK is one of the largest and most popular breeding grounds for the Lesser Flamingos in the world.

According to the Field Biologist Nita Shah, who is working on habitat occupancy and distribution of flamingos, did not find a single bird on the island-in one of her interviews with the print media opined that -   “the birds are not there and we don't know if they will come or not. I am afraid it is too late for nesting this year," Shah, who visited the isolated island on December 10, told The Indian Express. 
The Shah's research project is funded by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India, a training and research institute functioning under the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest.

"Flamingos breed in ideal conditions only. The level of water should be ideal and the availability of food should also be in the right amounts. While they can also breed once in three years, the reason for their not arriving this season is a matter of research," Shah added.

Well, I did a ground level work on the migrating bird Pink Flamingos. A good friend of mine and well known Kuchipudi and Vilasini Traditional dancer-Ms. Pujita who is the founder of "Feet On Earth-Dance Studio" located at Sainikpuri, Hyderabad, India was assigned a small project to depict a 3-minutes dance piece on Pink Flamingos. This she is doing with a goodwill to support her friend abroad who is doing her/ his research on "Flamingos". 

In the month of February this year, She approached me and asked if I could help her out in making  shadow puppets and this would be a trial work of puppet and dance combination.

I readily agreed to her and my team members-Kodapa Gajanand, Boyini Prakash and Anirudh who is doing his Internship with Sphoorthi Theatre worked on the subject and made Flamingos, Village, Lake and so on. The story  relates to a Patron King Lakophulani who was a great admirer and loved nature, birds, and animals. Flamingos were his favourites. In order to not to disturb the ecosystem, he generated the awareness of healthy nature and importance of flora and fauna among his subject. These flamingos use to visit Rann of Kutch every year for breeding. Due to change in climatic condition, the disturbance caused in the ecosystem, increased salt in saline water and polluted water, scarcity of food and so on, has reduced the number of flamingos visiting India every year. This is worrying, common people, bird watchers, forest officials, ornithologists and so on. 

Today was the shooting day. Well, it was nice to catch up with Pujita and her Colleague Nenita -a Bharatanatyam dancer . The final piece will be ready after editing , music addition and so on.


With a positive note,we wish all the flamingos to come and visit India and continue breeding. 

Sunday, 20 March 2016

"World Storytelling Day-World Sparrow Day-World Puppetry Day" March Commemorative Days

It’s nice to denote each day of the year for some specific reason called Name Day. A name day is a custom in some countries in Europe and Latin America that has been practiced for long.  In other words, it is better to be called as “World Commemorative Days”. This is nothing but celebrating a day of the year that is addresses common issues or a thought.  This celebration is similar to individual’s  birthdays. The list is common with certain added variations-Like International Days of United Nations slightly varies from International Days of UNESCO  and so on…

Starting from March 1st-Zero Discrimination Day,  March 3rd  as World Wildlife Day, March 8th –International Women’s Day, March 20th World Sparrow Day, World Storytelling Day,  March 21st World Puppetry Day, World Dowm Syndrome Day, World Poetry Day, March 22nd World Water Day, March 26th World Tuberculosis Day… the list is never ending. Again, each country has added important days  suiting to the issues of prominent importance.

Every year, it is the  practice of the Sphoorthi Theatre to present the a Puppet play addressing Social cause or to collaborate with organizations towards campaign awareness.

 Well, Sphoorthi Theatre combined World Storytelling Day-World Sparrow Day- World Poetry Day and World Puppetry Day and presented A puppet Play on “Return of the Sparrow” with a story base and songs.  The play was organised by Citizens’ Action for Local Biodiversity Awareness and Conservation-CALBAC organization, Ambiance Fort colony,  Attapur, Hyderabad under the Directorship of Ms. Rajani Vekkalanka who is working towards Biodiversity conservation and native birds.

A workshop on Stick puppet making for kids, wherein,  the kids made  colourful sparrows and other bird puppets.

Kids marched with puppets and participated in the inaugural of  Kandthireddynagar Municipal Park as “Save Sparrow conservation zone “ by installing sparrow houses for nesting.

It was great to watch parents also taking part in helping their kids in cutting and so on. Everyone is aware of the importance of native birds and their contributions.

Featured Post

Significance of Aadi Masam

Aadi Masam (Masam-month) is the fourth month in Tamil Calendar and some people consider the month as inauspicious for humans and auspiciou...