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Phone: +91 33 40047483

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58/114 Prince Anwar Shah Road, Kolkata-700045
Phone: +91 33 24178516

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Phone: +91 11 2627225 / 98312 18706

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Contact:

Rajyashree Mukherjee (Resident Representative)
Phone : +91 9800403759

Rural Craft and Cultural Hubs (RCCH): To Contact Folk Artists and Crafts Persons, call:

Moumita Kundu
Mobile: + 91 8420106396
Landline: +91 33 40047483

Nirmalya Roy
Mobile: +91 9903043382
Landline: +91 33 40047483


TourEast : Visiting artist villages

Moumita Kundu
Mobile: +91 8420106396
Landline: +91 33 40047483

Sharbani Sarkar
Mobile: +91 9051760160
Landline: +91 33 24178516/18


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Debalina Bhowmick
Mobile: +91 8820586887
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Arpan Thakur Chakraborty
Mobile: +91 9674794117

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Breathing New Life into Puppets

Bengal has a tradition of puppet dance called Putul Naach which is accompanied by songs. Muragacha, near Krishnanagar in Nadia, is the main string puppetry (Suto Putul, in Bengali) hub in Bengal. There is a colony of puppetry artistes here and most of them are descendants of puppeteers who migrated from erstwhile East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

As part of the intervention under the Rural Craft and Cultural Hubs (RCCH) – an initiative undertaken by the West Bengal Government’s Department of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and Textiles (MSME&T) in association with UNESCO – we are working with 187 string puppeteers of Nadia, Bardhaman and Bankura districts since 2016.

Workshops and training sessions are being held regularly with the puppeteers as part of the RCCH project to sharpen their skills. These are being conducted by traditional master puppeteers like Ranjan Roy and Jagabandhu Singh. New stories are also being written and performed to draw in a greater number of audiences. Unlike most countries in the West where technology plays a key role in puppetry now, special care is being taken under RCCH to keep the traditional style intact and promote it among new generation puppeteers.

Ranjan and Tapas Roy, another senior puppeteer and RCCH artiste, attended the prestigious Gannat festival in France in 2016 where they showcased their puppetry skills.

Incidentally, puppetry is still a male-dominated art form in Bengal. There are just eight women puppeteers among the 187 artistes. However, the RCCH intervention came at a crucial time because the art of puppetry was losing popularity in the face of an onslaught by various forms of modern media and entertainment.

Story in ICH Courier

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