Sangeet Natak Academy, New Delhi, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture, is organizing a puppet festival on the occasion of World Puppet Day on March 21, 2022. With the celebration of 75 years of India’s independence, the theme of the festival is “Azadi Ke Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”.
In this gala event, the stories of India’s freedom struggle will be retrieved through dolls. The festival, which started on March 21, 2022, will be celebrated through various events in five different cities – Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh), Hyderabad (Telangana), Angul District (Orissa), New Delhi and Agartala (Tripura).
An interesting lineup of activities includes performances of famous dolls, both traditional and contemporary, a seminar, exhibition and workshop where participants can create their own dolls and take them home.
In Hyderabad and Varanasi, the puppet festival is marked by a three-day festival from March 21 to March 23, 2022, while in Angul district, it will be held March 21 – 22. There is a one-day program on March 21 in Delhi and Agartala, 2022. The program spread across different cities is as follows-
- Hyderabad – March 21-23, 10:00 am and 7:00 pm at CCRT Amphitheater
- Varanasi – March 21-22, 7:00 pm at Subah-e-Banaras, Aussie Ghat and March 23, after 11:00 am, at Deendayal Handicraft Complex
- Fingers – March 21, 10:00 am and 6:15 pm at Sriram Institute of Shadow Theater and March 22, 10:00 am and 6:15 pm
- Agartala – March 21, at 12 noon at the Muktadhara Auditorium
- New Delhi – March 21, 2:00 pm Madhyam, Aya Nagar
Puppetry has been an intercultural theater tradition since time immemorial, popular as a tool for communication, education and entertainment. The tradition of puppets in India, too, goes far back and the art has been written in historical Indian literature such as plays, theatrics and second-century texts on the Tamil text Shilpadikaram.
Puppetry has traditionally been a temple-based art, narrative of nature whose themes were borrowed from mythology, mythology, epics and local legends. We find here four types of dolls traditionally used – string, shadow, rod and hand puppet. Mrs. Temsunaro Jamir, secretary of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, added that although puppet theater is still popular in India, the puppet festival will give it a new lease of life as a new generation of listeners will get acquainted with traditional puppetry, an obscure cultural heritage in India.