Saturday, 8 December 2018

Sri M.R. Ranganatha Rao-Bheeshmapithamaha of Karnataka Puppet world

              Sri Ranganatha Rao-Bheeshmapithamaha of Karnataka Puppet world

Sri Ranganatha Rao -86 years young, winner of the Sangeet Natak Academy Award (1981), Karnataka State Rajyostava Award (2016), Craft Council of India Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Award (2017) and many more. His journey in puppetry is similar to Eklavya’s training in archery in the absence of the Guru or the teacher. He a government teacher by profession switched over to puppetry after his first meeting with Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay. That was the power of this iron lady.

Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay (3 April 1903 – 29 October 1988) was an Indian Social Reformer and Freedom Fighter. It is Smt. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, who has been the driving force behind the Renaissance of Indian handicrafts, handlooms, and Indian theater. In India, today several cultural institutions exist because of her vision, tireless efforts and upliftment of indigenous art forms.

Again, it was Smt Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay who introduced Sri Narasing Rao –a traditional string puppeteer to Sri Ranganath Rao. Sri Narasing Rao was none other than maternal grandfather of Sri Ranganath Rao. Sri Narasing Rao, who was the “Asthana” or court puppeteer in the Mysore kingdom, in South India. Unfortunately, he has not seen his maternal grandfather. Sri Ranganath Rao was ninth born child to his parents and his maternal grandfather passed away when he was a toddler.

Though the art of Puppetry existed in the family, Sri. Rao had a teaching as a profession. He taught History in government secondary schools. Backed by an academic background in drama and theatre and a career as a schoolteacher, it was natural for Ranganatha Rao to use puppets as a medium of expression to teach children in school.

Sri. Rao vividly recalls the day when he attended a talk by Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay when she mentioned the mastery of his grandfather’s art form and enquired about his whereabouts. Sri. Rao was forty years old then. After the talk, he introduced himself to Chattopadhyay and provided an update about the treasured puppets carved by his grandfather. He also spoke to her about the traditional art of ‘Salaki Gombeyatta’- ‘Rod Puppets’ of Karnataka.

Mr. Ranganatha Rao hails from Magadi Taluk, Ramnagar district, Karnataka. He is multi-talented; he crafts these beautiful wooden puppets and is an adept puppeteer, lyricist, music composer and storyteller. He is the Founder and the Director of ‘Sri Rangaputli Kalaranga’- a Puppet theatre and training institute. He has travelled extensively far and wide all over the world. He has participated and performed at various International festivals.

At the national level he has participated in the puppet festivals at New Delhi, Hyderabad and various States of India. He was appointed the director for the children’s puppet festival during the SAARC festival at Bangalore. He was also the director for the ‘National Puppet Festival-Puthali’-1991 in Bangalore. He has worked for Janapada Loka, Karnataka and has set up a multipurpose puppet theatre.

Sri. Rao’s grandfather’s puppets weighed 15 kilos, and to make the craft more effective, however Sri Ranganatha Rao has conceived new puppets with a combination of indigenous raw materials. He uses different kinds of wood to carve the entire puppet. A lighter wood for the body, with the traditional wood used for the puppet’s faces and arms.

In order to strengthen the roots firm, he took to the road performing not only in his village Magadi, but all over Karnataka and in different states of India. Storytellers and musicians were part of the troupe, and they along with their puppets performed stories from legends and mythology in villages delighting their devout audience.

Thus, this effort of his paved a way towards reinvention of the Puppetry as a “Temple Art” form and has trained many troupes in across Karnataka State in order to conserve and preserve this noble art form.

Today, traditional puppetry seems to be in a state of transition in Karnataka State. The ancient art form is taking new directions and visibility. He has been an instrument as serious revivalists in reviving the Puppetry art into sprouting movements by teaching and supporting students, art lovers from all walks of life.  He has crafted miniature doll theater called Rasalok, at the Bimba Art Hut in Basavangudi, Bangalore, the theater is run by a very accomplished dancer and another student of Shri Ranganath Rao

Sri Dattatreya Aralikatte a National Award winner and founder head of "Putthali Kalaranga" (Puppet Theater), Bangalore, Smt. Anupama Hoskere-Founder Director of Dhaatu Puppet organization are his disciples.

Apart from that he has trained and is training youth and women especially in villages in this art form. Both Print and electronic media has made a vast coverage of his unique style and journey in the field of Puppetry. Sri Rao is an encyclopedia of Puppetry and stands tall as a pillar of strength to all the art lovers around the world.

Very glad to share that I am privileged to get trained under him. Undergoing training in Ranga Putthali Style of  Puppetry of  Karnataka.


Monday, 27 August 2018

Uncertainty! Uncertainty!!- A poem

O' Science of stillness
Filled the world with illness;
With a hope to clear the darkness,
In the wild midst of madness.
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

You do have answers for all except one,
Mislead, misguide, made mistakes done;
Great Nobel Laureates to commons,
Lost in your journey and forgotten;
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

Application of quantum Physics,
Has worsened the free lives;
Hopes of inner self dies,
May long live the fool not called wise;
With humanitarian mind and eyes.
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

The well practiced in nature is less spoken,
Well spoken is less heard;
Well heard is less shared,
Well shared is less given;
Well given is forgiven and forgotten.
O' Science of uncertainty! ! Uncertainty! !

Your kindness has turned unkind,
You are the business hub for mankind;
You are labeled on every make,
No reasons accounts to YOU when you break;
Unstill you are still don't take,
The blame of Uncertainty of Science! Uncertainty of Science! !

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Tribes' Health cause for concern

I am not sure of my compassion or kindness that flows for tribal population in general and especially for the Raj Gonds (sub sects) of the undivided Adilabad district of Telangana State.

How do I say… feel pity or sorry or..or..or..

I m in general very fascinated to know the life style, occupation, food habits, culture and belief system of aborigines. I record it too. It is purely out of passion and nothing else. I also wonder about the simple life style lived at fullest length with content which we aren’t. In course of times I got acquaintance with some of the Gond tribal students of Adilabad . Highly energetic and creative guys opened up my horizon to look beyond.

Well, in due course these guys involved in my Puppetry work and also came out with a wonderful production on “Health awareness” in Gondi tribal dialect called “Mava Jiva Mava Aasthi”. That’s when I encountered how poor is the health sector working for them.

In general “Health and Education” sectors are neglected in India for all. Every government instead of strengthening by systematizing Health and Education sectors totally free has neglected it over the ages. Most of the people opt for private schools and hospitals which is in fact worsening the conditions.

Well, Gond tribe and sub tribe like Pradhan, Kolam, Thoti, Nayakpod, Andh, Koya tribes villages by and large of the region has several hamlets who live in remote parts and on the periphery of forests. Normally, each house consists of homesteads that house extended families. Houses are usually built of mud and thatch. Some of the Gonds are now residing in a well build Pucca hosues. The one located in a remote village on a hillock are still in country thatched huts.

Over the period, these tribes have fallen into the trap of so called modern safe food habits. In the bargain, they have lost the traditional food crops, traditional food and diets resulting in unsafe health patterns among these aborigines. Reservations of forests has greatly shattered the way of living and economic survival of these tribes. Everything has undergone sea change right from indigenous knowledge and methods of cultivation, preservation, growing of crops, life-style, indigenous medicinal practices and so on.

No wonder if one comes across blood pressure and diabetes mellitus disorders among these tribes these days. Most of the tribal women are diagnosed as anemic and these being the major root cause for various ailments.

Diarrhea, Malaria, Dengue is quite common and often detected at the onset of the monsoon. Precautions and preventive measures are adopted by the Heath wing of ITDA, Utnoor. However, the preventive medicine is not encouraging and lacks follow up from both health wing and by the tribal population.

There was a news report stating a good initiative by Integrated Tribal Development Agency-ITDA Utnoor that has launched a health survey in all tribal hamlets. However, I am not sure of the effectiveness of the implementation.

Now, there are increasing cases of chronic kidney diseases, strokes, heart ailments, Epilepsy, Asthma, hypertension are common among the tribes. Every six months once one case of CKD(Chronic Kidney Disease) is reported and the person suffering from it dies due to later detection, non availability of Nephrologists, PHCs not equipped to cater to the kidney diseases, non functioning of dialysis centers without specialists, negligence by the patients, no timely guidance and help from the health wing. On the other hand, when looked from health wing point of view they lack paramedical staff, infrastructures, qualified doctors, and specialists due to the negligence from the government.

These tribes are quite used to intake painkillers like diclofenac  for minor ailments for body pains and such. These  are available freely at the PHCs and also sold at petty shops. Again, intake of water is also less, thirdly during summer they do suffer from acute dehydration. Pathetic situation is that even the paramedical staff and ANMs working in PHCs are not well aware of chronic ailments and the treatment procedure.

The real cause for CKD is still unknown….but succumbed to CKD is know.

With changing government body, changing PO-Project Officer of ITDAs, everything changes except the health conditions and awareness of the tribes for tribes.

I am happy that mu journalist friend of the region has covered the same well in The Hindu

Monday, 30 July 2018

Sri Vishwanath Polepeddi- A good Photography friend

"Photography is a love affair with life"

Juts living does not make Vishwanath happy, He needs sunshine, flowers, dragon flies and freedom to use his camera to capture the glorious pictures around.

It was four years ago, Sri Vishwanath Polepeddi had come with his camera to watch my puppet show-"Ganesha The Elephant Headed" at Our Sacred Space, Secunderabad.

While I was setting up my stage, Sri Vishwanath garu was taking few of my pictures... Gosh!! I felt bit uncomfortable and embarrassment too. I walked straight to him and was about to pounce that he introduced himself to me as a passionate Photographer. He immediately showed me the pictures of my puppets clicked along with the stage setting. I was amused to see the way my puppets looked in his camera.. marvelous!!

Then he watched the entire play and shared his profound knowledge of various arts of the region. This meeting established a good friendship relationship between us. We then exchanged a couple of emails and became friends over Facebook.
On Facebook he shared his photographs on various themes. He tours all around and is skilled to catch the best picture on his lenses. Soft spoken or to say man of few words with brilliant artistic skills and credits.

He attends to most of my puppet shows and capture good pictures too. He is an artist with a blend of natural spirituality. One of his recent works on puppet animation of pictures titled "Vatapi Ganapathim" is simply superb.  Here is the Youtube link :

A man who has good knowledge of Indian music and aesthetic sense. He is fascinated about dragon flies, flowers, dew drops...oh what not!!

I wish him and his camera for to share more splendid works.

One can follow him on Facebook-

Thursday, 28 June 2018

In my Sand Fortress---A poem

Life exists in my dream world,
Built beside water world;
Around and around to twirl,
Placed fine candle cones on curls;
In my Sand Fortress!

On a bright full moon day,
Awaiting for my love to come and play;
In my garden of flowers spread all the way,
The gentle breeze of aromatic spray;
Welcomes my love for a long stay,
In my Sand Fortress!!      

Table and chairs of sand,
 White lacy curls adore the edges of strands;
Tea pots brewing hot with cinnamon grind
And smoky snacks made by dirtying my hand;
In the middle the tall bunch of flower stands                       
In my Sand Fortress!!!

Dressed in purple flower gown,
The gather flares flowing down;
My silky hair tresses of brown,
On either shoulders with curls on;
Soft lips and rosy cheeks colouring lawn,
In my Sand Fortress!!!!

Bright moon sets in the middle of the sky,     
Clear clouds pass and fly;
To walk holding hands and staring eyes,
To have you my love on rosy bed to arise;
Lips say and ears long to hear fond reply
In my Sand Fortress!!!!!

Envying moon moving east,
Morning bells welcoming priests;
Chirping birds calls for aid at least,
Violent waves hit the fortress like a beast;                
Wild fowl cry in the air increased,       
In my Sand Fortress!!!!!!

My sand fortresses smashed and splatter,
Divine love feast scatter;
To my love my love is just a matter,
Who longs for a fresh new flower like a wild catcher;

Lay beside a thorny snatcher,
My love bleeds with every scratcher;
Yet long to rebuild the sand fortress,
To repaint my love with loving portraits;
On smashed Sand Fortress!!!!!!!

 Posted on

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Oh! ! My dreams.. My dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…A Poem

My dreams of fulfillment
Accomplished with resilient, 
With blazing stars of brilliant
Like a joyful Brazilian

Oh! ! My dreams… my dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…

Sat on a couch
With a cup of ginger tea
Besides my wide window
Opening to a greenery patch
On the onset of monsoon
Listening to old classics

Oh! ! My dreams… my dreams..Just remained my dreams for ever…

At a distance, 
With a bunches of flowers of my choice 
My man drenched with a rain coat on

Oh! ! My dreams… my dreams..Just remained my dreams for ever…

O' My heart pondered…
In a wavy white gown 
I ran feeling the feel on
 In the slushy zeal
To hug my love O' Neil John! 

Oh! ! My dreams.. My dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…

As I jumped over the puddle pool
With My hands free and very cool
In the slushy slippery lush  
Tumbled over a sharp tool
Fell down with a gripping pain 
Couldn't raise again

Oh! ! My dreams.. My dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…

With the gentle rain turning violent, 
Sound of raindrops rest all silent, 
Ah! Broke a branch of big willow tree
Fell right on my left knee
Thundering bolts as harsh as it could be
Lay as bad in a bitter sea

Oh! ! My dreams.. My dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…

Holding my breathe 
In a stormy night sinks my life ship
His name on my lips
With the slowing sound of drops
Comes closer sniffing my little pup
Just to find me lying cold with face up

Oh! ! My dreams.. My dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…

With strained eyes waiting for long
Mistaken a shadow of dark tower
 For my love with rain coat on 
No bunches of flowers of my choice
To jump up to rejoice
Rolling tears and shrinking voice
Broke down in the silent noise

Oh! ! My dreams.. My dreams… just remained my dreams for ever…


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