Puppet Forms in India; Notes for UPSC Art and Culture

Some scholars believe that the puppetry art tradition is more than thousands years old. One finds its reference in many folk tales, ballads and sometimes even in folk songs This article will talk about the various puppet forms in India.

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What are the different types of puppets used in India?

There are 4 major different types of puppets used in India. The types of puppets and the respective states where it is used are given below.

1.Glove Puppets – 2 different types

  1. PavaKoothu – Kerala

2. Rod Puppets – 3 different types

  1. Putul Nach – West Bengal
  2. Kathi Kandhe – Orissa
  3. Yampuri – Bihar

3. Shadow Puppets – 6 different types

  1. Tholu Bommalata – Andhra Pradesh
  2. Togalu Gombeyata – Karnataka
  3. Tolpavakoothu – Kerala
  4. Chamadyache Bahulya – Maharashtra
  5. Ravanachhaya – Orissa
  6. Thol Bommalattam – Tamil Nadu

4. String Puppets – 6 different types

  1. Putal Nach – Assam
  2. Gombeyatta – Karnataka
  3. Kalasutri Bahulya – Maharashtra
  4. Gopalila Kundhei – Orissa
  5. Kathputli – Rajasthan
  6. Bommalattam – Tamil Nadu

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What do you mean by a Puppet?

A doll or a figure controlled by a person so that it appears to be moving on its own is called a puppet.

Why is Puppetry Art Dying?

There are various reasons for it.

  1. Lack of patronage in the modern age.
  2. Competition from Electronic media which is a preferred mode of entertainment. People find it more appealing to watch mythological stories of Ramayan and Mahabharat on electronic media rather than in Puppetry.
  3. Puppetry Art is usually confined to only devotional and mythological stories.
  4. With changing times, Puppetry does not take up modern social issues.
  5. Puppetry lacks modernization in terms of script, lighting, sound and other stage effects.

Who made the first Puppets?

Puppetry as an art form is believed to be more than 3000 years old. The earliest puppets probably originated in Egypt. Puppets made of ivory and clay was discovered in Tombs. Even ancient Greek Scholars like Aristotle and Plato had mentioned about Puppets as early as 422 B.C.

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