Youngsters use puppets to spread awareness on gender issues in Assam

  • | Sunday | 11th December, 2022

Guwahati, Dec 11 (PTI) A group of young people are using puppets in Assam to spread awareness on the ills of early marriage and gender-based violence and exhorting the youth, especially girls, to complete their formal education.Members of PuppetPeople, a Guwahati-based group which uses puppetry as an alternative method of story-telling while giving important social messages, are also using song-and-dance to make the people understand the issues better."We have been performing in interior areas, especially in parts where literacy rate is low. Just last week, we did several shows in the northern part of the state," Drishana Kalita, founder of PuppetPeople, told PTI.Their current format consists of a five-minute song-and-dance using string puppets, followed by a 15-minute play using body puppets.Kalita said the entire show has been presented in the local language and the characters of the play have been developed in a manner so that the audience can relate to them."The practice of quitting education midway and getting married at a tender age is very prevalent among girls, especially in the tea garden areas. Our own research has found it. Through the play"s main character, we try to project how wrong choices could lead to problems for the entire life," she said.The performances draw mixed crowds, though the focus is on the women. Children and men are also part of the audience and show keen interest, Kalita said.She is accompanied by her team members Manash Protim Neog, Navanit Nilavh, Rituparna Saikia, Biswajit Handique and Deepjyoti Dutta, among others.The response to the shows has been positive and the people even take part in the song-and-dance during the performance, Kalita said."We can only hope that at least a few of the girls and their families take back and keep with them the message we are trying to put across. If we can impact even a handful of lives now, we believe a beginning has been made," the puppeteer added. PTI SSG NN NN

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