The puppet culture has started its journey from South India and reached the South East countries.
It is present till today in different parts in Kambodia, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia .
Puppet is the initial form of dance culture. Its aim is not only recreation but also picturization of social and religious beliefs. Though puppet is lifeless thing, but by giving motion to its hands, feet and other parts of the body, it is made live. The puppet tradition of Ramleela started from South India and then reached the South Asian countries. Till today it is present in Kambodia, Indonesia, Malasyia and Thailand.
It is most popular and attractive in these countries.
Yaayang Puppet culture of Indonesia and Bali matches, with the dance culture of those countries. The deeds which are done during the show are the same as in Indian cultures. But from the point of view of symbolism and pattern point of view, these are near to Indonesian beliefs. With symmetric singing and the soothing music, when the artist gives motion to the puppet, a seraphic scene appears and the viewers start imagining the super power.
Even today in Thailand, big puppets are used in Southern part of the country during Ramleela. This tradition is prevalent much before the start of the 18th Century.
In Malaysia the effect of Ramayana can be observed in dance tradition only. The Chaya play resembles the Andhra Culture.
VANISHING PUPPET TRADITION IN THE LIGHT OF MODERNISATION
Art is always creating employment opportunities and recreation in addition to creation. It may be painting, Dance, Handicraft or puppet culture. From the ancient times, it has been the source of show business, recreation and income.
Through the puppet shows not only dance but also drama. By the passage of time, the change started in their appearance and clothes (dresses).
The puppet culture has a very special place in Indian society. This art had established its own place from the palaces of the kings to general public, but today, with the flow of modernization , this art is vanishing. Sources of recreation like TV has badly affected the Folk Arts like puppet culture. The artists of these Folk Arts has lost the viewers due to the reach of TV in the villages. With the result the Puppet Artists are facing difficulty to earn their bread.
There was a time, when many types of messages were delivered through puppet shows. In the Revolution of Independence, the Puppet culture has done wonders but today in the age of Technology, World is running very fast.
No one is there to listen to the voice of Puppetwalas. So most of the people associated with puppet art have started working as labourers to earn their livelihood. The remaining people who are till today associated with the legacy, have started manufacturing and selling of these puppets in addition to have puppet shows. Previously the street shows of puppets have now shrinked to only Fares and Exhibitions.
Even the Puppet Show which is being shown in Chokhi Dhani , 12 kms away from Jaipur looks lifeless.
To save the Puppet Art from vanishing, in addition to have the Government patronage, the Organisations associated with Folk Arts have to come forward to give this art a New Life.
– DR RANI KAMLESH AGGARWAL