Satara: Tamasha Artists Struggle as Model Code of Conduct Curtails Performances

Satara: Tamasha Artists Struggle as Model Code of Conduct Curtails Performances

As the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections is in force in state and country, rural fair committees have sidelined tamasha performances. It has led to a daunting challenge for tamasha troupe owners. Speaking with The Free Press Journal, they have appealed to the government for assistance amidst these times.

Rambhau JagtapUpdated: Sunday, April 28, 2024, 12:27 PM IST
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Satara: Tamasha Artists Struggle as Model Code of Conduct Curtails Performances |

The decline of traditional Tamasha is already evident amidst the rise of social media in Maharashtra. Even as they were yet to recover from the trauma and financial difficulties imposed by COVID-19, Tamasha artists and troupe owners face unprecedented challenges due to Lok Sabha election code of conduct restrictions affecting their performances. They urge governmental intervention to extend performance times and provide financial aid.

As the model code of conduct for Lok Sabha elections is in force in state and country, rural fair committees have sidelined tamasha performances. It has led to a daunting challenge for tamasha troupe owners. Speaking with The Free Press Journal, they have appealed to the government for assistance amidst these times.

Police permissions and timings

The months of April and May are usually the busiest for tamasha artists, with numerous village fairs and performances scheduled. However, due to the Model Code of Conduct, police permissions are limited to avoid potential law and order issues. Thus many shows are being canceled, and those permitted are restricted to a short time frame from 7pm to 10pm. This has led to the cancellation of programs in many villages, as tamasha performances typically begin after 10pm, and organisers are reluctant to pay for only three hours of entertainment.

The troupes have requested an extension of time to facilitate their night shows.

Shahir Patthe Bapurao Tamasha Pandhri in Karad

Between Gudhipadwa and Akshat Tritiya, the Shahir Patthe Bapurao Tamasha Pandhri is an annual event held in Karad in Satara, drawing tamasha artists from Satara, Sangli, and Kolhapur districts. However, this year, restrictions imposed due to the code of conduct, fair comittes avoided joining in the Pandhari. It has posed serious financial troubles for tamasha artists and owners.

The troupe owners also said that the financial toubles will push them towards labour work and farm work and advocated for government pension schemes to support their livelihoods.

Covid-induced troubles

Amidst the rise of social media, tamasha artists have faced neglect. It was added to by the closure of tamasha events for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the pandemic disrupting festivities in 2020, 2021, and 2022, tamasha artists endured a prolonged period of unemployment.

"We have been grappling since the onset of the pandemic in 2020. The government must intervene to revive our traditional art forms and support stage owners and artists. Owners are burdened with loans from private lenders, and without performance income, meeting expenses like artist salaries and vehicle rentals becomes impossible. We urge the government to provide subsidies and assistance to alleviate our financial difficulties," said Jagannath Lokhande, Director, Tamasha Mandal.

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