Indian Puppet Tradition In Need of Support

I recently visited the Bhartiya Lok Kala Mandal, Udaipur. It has a wonderful array of puppets primarily from the Rajasthan region in the museum. A little more care and preservation of the puppets is required otherwise in the current condition, where they are collecting dust, they are likely to deteriorate. The puppets are known as Kathputlis in the region. There are many forms of puppets in India ranging from wooden to shadow puppets but their popularity is on a decline. There is an attempt by the government to revive these art forms but they are on a small scale and not professionally managed. The need to support, encourage and actively promote this art form is even greater now when people around the world are experiencing cultural homogeneity because of globalization. This is making them actively look for authentic cultural experiences. Tourists don't visit India to go to the malls, they want to experience Indian history and culture. Preserving art will not only bring in tourism dollars, it will also help preserve Indian culture.

There were a group of older children visiting the center on a school trip the day I visited the museum. Most of them were taking selfies with the puppets with their cell phones. Later watching them enjoy the puppet show gave me hope that this cultural art form might still survive in spite of threats from other modern forms of entertainment like the video games.