Monday, September 9, 2013

Delhi Puppeteers Face Uncertain Times...

A puppeteers colony in central Delhi, that is home to magicians, puppeteers, musicians, percussionists and other artists, faces an uncertain time as the government plans to temporarily relocate the artists and their families in the next few months.

Check out the photographs here -

The Delhi government has roped in a private developer, Rajeha Developers, for the in-setu-rehabilitation of this cluster. It looks as if these artists will be rehabilitated on the same plot of land in a tower that is approdimately 54 stories high while the private developer will get to develop and sell property on the rest of the land.

Most of the people in this colony are not happy over their impending relocation and subsequent resettlement. They are also not happy that the temporarily constructed housing for them is also not upto the mark.

But, after visiting such areas, one begins to think as to why people who are still practicing traditional arts and crafts, culture and traditions continue to live in such poverty, misery and degrading (slum-like) conditions. Is it because we do not value our own art, culture or traditions? Or is it because most of the people practicing traditional forms do not know the English language and are therefore unable to market themselves and their arts properly?

Ironically, with the government getting so much money under various schemes like JNNURM, the MPLADs funds, the state government's own funds, the DDAs budget, the MCD budget, the Slum Dept's budget, one would like to ask and know why should an area of the National Capital that houses so many talented artists should be languishing and people living in such filthy conditions? Where is all of that huge amount of money going that is meant for urban development?

The Kathputhli Colony is a remarkable mini-India with families from across the country settling here over the last 5-6 decades. One can see that in the varied diversity of their attire, language, dialects, arts and crafts. The colony, with a population of about 3,000 families, has an army of leaders (pradhans as they are called in Hindi) with each religion and state having its own leader.