Kathputli Colony

In the 1950’s, an artistic colony of Delhi was developed. The Kathputli colony, in Shadipur Depot, is famous especially for puppets shows by performers from Rajasthan.  It is an abode of traditional musicians, healers, snake whisperers, jugglers, fire-eaters and street-magicians. The puppet show is the oldest form of entertainment. Artists enchant with their talents the traditional Rajasthani folk songs in which they illustrate stories from the
Holy book of Hinduism.

 

The puppeteers have an exquisite command over their hands, palms, chest and mouth as the acappella. The snake dance is a part of the traditional show which adds on to the anticipation.  The show is followed by the Rajasthani folk songs sung by Jagdish Bhatt, master of Wooden Puppet Animation. Harmonium,Karthal, and Dhol are Jagsidh’s forte. He has sung songs in all Indian languages and can learn any new language in six days. Jagdish and his nomadic troupes have performed in places like London, Japan, Paris, Hong Kong, Dubai,Bangkok and Sweden. They have also participated in Indian reality shows –
India’s Got Talent and Satyamev Jayate.

Since 2009, the city authorities haveannounced demolition of this slum area. The walls were re-painted and images of puppets were made. One corner had stalls of ‘Rajasthani Mehendi’ and handicrafts to be sold while the other corner had a man clad in Rajasthani
dress making wooden carved puppets. The crowd gathered took immense pleasure in
dancing on the beats of the famous “Kachhi Ghodi” (Horse Dance). Dancers wore
novelty horse costumes and participated in mock fights while a singer narrated folk
tales about local bandits.

Open Eyes Project is gatheringmomentum for the cause. They identified a few artisans of the community and are working towards sustainable development of the arts revival. The aim of the initiative is to give a decent livelihood to the artisans. A part of the
project is to extend services to the corporate looking for a responsible way to
entertain and organize activities for their employees. This would directly benefit
the community at large. In the long run it will be beneficial to the youth of
the community as the project also extends in providing them with vocational training
in tourism.

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