GUWAHATI, April 22 � Governor JB Patnaik today said that puppet theatre could be used as a major mass communication tool for propagating literacy, health programme and eradicating social evils like witchcraft.�
Inaugurating the sixth India Puppetry Festival, �Putul Yatra� at the Ranghar Bakori Mancha of Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra, Patnaik said, �Puppet theatre can be profitably used for mass literacy and primary health campaigns. It can be used against various superstitious practices like witchcraft and animal sacrifices. It can create awareness against AIDS.�
Describing India as home to puppetry, the Governor said that it was from India that puppetry had spread to different countries of South East Asia.
�India is home to puppetry. In ancient times, Indian puppetry, particularly shadow puppetry, travelled all over South East Asia such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia, which are now known by different names in different countries,� he said.
Patnaik also called for redefining puppetry to make it relevant to modern times. In this context, he urged the governments as well as Sangeet Natak Akademi to take steps to promote puppetry.�
The nine-day festival is being organized by Sangeet Natak Akademi, National Academy of Music, Dance and Drama, New Delhi, in association with Srimata Sankaradeva� Kalakshetra and Cultural Affairs Department, Government of Assam. The festival will remain open till the April 30.�
The inaugural function was also graced by the presence of Shanta Serbjit Singh, Vice Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademi.�
The inaugural programme began with a special combined presentation by puppeteers of India followed by Aladin, a contemporary Puppetry Production of Calcutta Puppet Theatre, directed by Suresh Dutta.�
Some of the celebrities of Indian puppetry who are attending this festival include Dadi Pudumjee from Delhi, Suresh Dutta from Kolkata, Puran Bhatt from Rajasthan and Anurupa Roy from Delhi. Altogether 47 puppetry troupes of the country are taking part in the event. These include troupes from States like Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Assam, Manipur, Tripura, UP, Delhi, Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.�
The details of the programme can be seen at www.sangeetnatak.gov.in. Briefly, the festival performances are from April 22-30, puppetry exhibition from April 23-30, workshop from April 23-29, and interaction from April 24 onwards.�
While the festival performances are being held in Guwahati from April 22-30, it will also be held from April 26 to May 5 at Shillong, Aizawl, Silchar, Agartala, Lakhimpur, Itanagar, Sipajhar, Majuli, Dimapur, Dhubri, Cooch Behar, and Geyzing.�