Streets plays play a major role in educating masses and thereby usher in new reforms in the society, as it directly reaches the common man on the street. Here is a group of eight members who have dedicated their life completely to educate people through street plays about the various welfare schemes launched by the government while also create awareness on important social issues. They say they fill the gap left by the newspapers, TV and other media.
All these artistes have undergone formal training and have prior experience in theater. Under the banner, 'Sambrama Samskuthika Kala Troupe', they are staging the play across State and are creating awareness amongst people for the past 15 years on such vital issues like the HIV, H1N1, child marriage, domestic violence, prevention of deadly infections through proper hygiene and several others.
At present the troupe members are on a eight day tour in the district to educate tribal people about the importance of exercising their franchise, all through street plays at various hamlets of HD Kote, Hunsur Taluk and Girijana Colonies.
They have rehearsed the script and composed songs to educate tribals about importance of voting while not be lured by offers of money or gifts and sell their votes. The plays also demonstrate how to exercise their franchise.
The intention behind these street plays is to increase voter turnout, and exercise their franchise freely and fairly, while informing them how to choose a candidate and the dangers of not exercising their franchise.
“Youngsters play major role in electoral process and we target to grab the attention of youngsters in villages and make them educate other villagers through them,” said artiste Malraj.
“Educating people through street plays is also a part of social service. Thousands of villagers have been benefited after watching our plays and we have seen change in them. They have learnt how to treat HIV patients, have become aware of various provisions under law meant for the protection of women, government welfare programmes and much more,” said Vasantha with proud.
Manjula says: Apart from getting educated ourselves, we make others too get educated. Many of them have been educated through plays. The plays reach the people in depth and helps for reforms. The job has brought us satisfaction more than earning.
“Though the earning is not enough for livelihood. We have dedicated ourselves completely to educate people. We feel happy for it,” said the troupe members. The artistes are: Guru Sidda, Vasantha, Nagaraj, Manjula (Rajyotsava awardee), Malraj, Anusuia, Somashekar, Chandrashekar, Mastelingu who are residents of Mysore and Mandya.
Awareness programme for Ashodaya Workers
'Voting is not only my right but also my duty and it is a mark of self respect.' This was the message conveyed by the theater artistes here on Thursday, after staging the play at Ashodaya Samithi, which works for the welfare of transgenders and sex workers.
Sex Worker Geetha (name changed) said that the play was not only entertaining but also brought about an awareness amongst voters. The play had an impact and brought change in our views. After watching the play we have decided not to miss my voting right.
Transgender Mala said that majority of them easily get lured by politicians and this play has spread light on such issues. Without yielding for anysorts of efforts by politicians to lure us we should exercise our franchise.
Lakhs of people educated through SVEEP programme in district
Through SVEEP (Systematic Voters' Education And Electoral Participation) lakhs of voters in the district are being educated about the importance of taking part in electoral process.
As many as 31 departments come under SVEEP Committee in district of Mysore and all the departments are involved in educating people in one way or the other.
Through DDPI, around 40,000 first year under-graduate students across the district have been made to take an oath that they will exercise their franchise in the coming elections.
Apart from this, around 90,000 vote taking pledges were distributed amongst high school students to obtain signature from their parents and other family members that they would caste their votes. Of this, more than 72,000 have been returned so far by students obtaining signatures of around 3 lakh people in the voters pledge form.
SVEEP Co-ordinator Praveen said that the response for such educational programmes has been quite good in the district as lakhs of people are being educated through Women and Child Welfare Committee, Women SHGs, Health Department, including library and hostels. He further said that through street plays tribals residing in hamlets of HD Kote and Hunsur Taluk will be educated in the next eight days.
Apart this a vehicle was flagged off by Information Department here on Thursday, displaying a hoarding and banners about the performing art troupes. The vehicle to tour 32 villages in the district in next eight days.
Election has brought smiles on the faces of khadi sellers
The demand for Khadi has increased with declaration of polls, as such the Khadi shop owners are busy selling varieties of Khadi items.
With election dates approaching closer, campaigning has gained momentum. But the sweltering heat has made campaigning very tiresome, as the candidates and the campaigners have to sweat it out under the hot sun. This has forced them to wear lighter clothes, preferably those made of Khadi, such as hand woven pristine white kurta, pyjama or jubba and dhoti, though the demand for Nehru cap is moderate.
Shops selling Khadi in city said that for the past one month, workers of various political parties have been frequenting their shops seeking Khadi dresses. The pure handmade Khadi dresses, keeps the body cool in summer, the demand for the same has increased.
The white cotton variety is in more demand than the silk, woolen or any other variety. The price for a meter of Khadi white cloth ranges from Rs 140 to Rs 350.
Khadi Gramodyoga Bhandar which has three branches in Mysore is doing good business. Manager Vasu said that the demand for Khadi dresses has gone up this summer and felt that the increase was mainly due to elections. “The quality of Khadi are very good and gives comfort for wearers. It has to be maintained cleanly. No machines are used to prepare this cotton,” he added.
Tripura Khadi Stores R Bhaskar also added that the demand for khadi has increased since the elections were declared. There is about 30 per cent increase in the number of buyers compare to previous year and we have been doing a good business. Apart from politicians, even the party workers and campaigners are preferring cotton dresses, which has pushed up the demand, he added.
Election fever has gripped first time voters
Excitement and happiness are the two emotions being experienced by the first time voters who will be exercising their franchise here on Thursday. Speaking to Express, students of several colleges said that they are eagerly waiting to get their thumb inked.
Majority of the students said that they feel great to be part of this big electoral process which has caught the attention of people across country. They said, they will be heading towards AVMs dressing neatly as they go to college every day. While, some were disheartened that there vote will not make any difference to weed out corruption.
Vijaya Vittala College Student Spandana said: “Am happily awaiting to experience this election process, how the EVMs look like and how the arrangement are done. Accompanied with few friends am planning to go on rounds in the city on the election day to know the ambience on the day.”
While, Sumitra, a student of Maharani's College said: “Though I am quite excited, I am also confused as to whom should I cast my vote. I am felling just as anxious as when I write my exams.”
NIE College Student Prayag said: “I am quite thrilled to take part in the electoral process. Exercising our franchise is our responsibility and duty. With more than 40 per cent of the electorate being youngsters, I feel we can bring about a change in the administration.”
“Though election fever has gripped the country, I feel apart from the great excitement the youngsters should think seriously as to whom they should elect as their leaders. No party is completely free of corruptions. It is a big challenge for us to elect the right candidate, which is not happening in this country inspite of being democratic,” regretted Vrunda, art student of Maharani's college, who is keenly observing politics for the past two years.
Elections have turned into boom for working class people
Elections have turned into a boom time for these daily wagers, who otherwise had to sweat under the blazing sun for earning a few hundred rupees.
With lot of manpower is needed for door to door campaigning, distributing pamphlets and interact with voters, the political parties paying a couple of hundreds more than what they earn in their daily work are engaging the construction workers, daily wage employees, housemaids, carpenters and other such odd jobbers, including the students for canvassing.
With count down begins for elections, majority of the daily wage employees are taking leave from their routine work, and are campaigning for political parties. If they campaign for over time they will be paid extra. PUC students who are now having summer vacation were also seen distributing pamphlets in several localities. The students said that they are paid extra for petrol, apart from getting Rs 100 to Rs 150 per day for canvassing.
Even housemaids are busy with campaigning after completing their work. Apart from this several Self Help Groups are also busy sending their members for canvasing. The choice of the party depends on the money they pay.
The campaigners say: 'By putting little effort we can earn thousands within a week. We will be earning around Rs 4000 to Rs 5,000 in a month during the poll time, with provided food. (An average of Rs 200 to Rs 500 per day). The job of canvasing is free of tension.”
Housemaid Mamtha said: “After completing house work, I start campaigning. The extra earned money will be used for my children's education.” Another woman who rolls Beedies at Hanumanthanagar said: "Me and two others are busy campaigning for a national party from last ten days. We are earning more than what we get by rolling beedies."
A carpentry shop owner at Kesare who had employed four people said that all them have taken to canvas in the elections resulting in delays to deliver pending orders on time. While, contractor Bavasavaraju said that the construction workers taking leave has increased soon after elections were declared. “Though we have hiked the daily wages by another Rs 25 they are sill taking leave and am finding it difficult to search workers to complete the urgent projects.
Areas like Vidyaranyapuram, TK Layout, Shanthinagar, Ghousia Nagar, Udayagiri, NR Mohalla, Kesare, Hanmanthanagar, and where majority of working class or daily wage labourers reside seem to be immensely benefited.
An initiative to facilitate voters of Azeez Sait Nagar
Despite several measures being taken by Election Commission of India to facilitate voters on the polling day, voters searching for their names in electoral rolls on polling day and wandering from one polling station to another is a common sight. But the people of Azeez Sait Nagar, which comes under Narasimharaja Constituency, may not face such problem this time around.
To ease the burden of residents, ward No 55 Corporator KC Showkath Pasha has introduced an novel imitative in his ward.
He has placed the details of 12,068 voters of 13 booths which comes under his ward on a wooden board. The details have been placed based on the booth wise, polling station and the room they have to exercise their franchise. The details are informed in both Urdu and English languages.
The boards are being displayed in front of mosque, major circles where footfalls are more. The people visiting mosque, looking at their photos in the voter listare knowing about the polling station.
Even the children in large number were seen searching for the photos of family members and helping them to know their voting Station.
“Majority of the residents at Azeez Sait Nagar or labourers mainly agarbathi and beedi workers. They are illiterates, and don't have access to advanced technology. The initiative has helped them lot to identify their polling booth without much struggle.
“First we come to know whether our name is there in voting list. By
identifying the photos, we are informing to our relatives, friends where they can exercise their franchise. Previous year, we were running from one polling station to other to cast our vote. Whereas, this time we have come to known four days early the polling stating and even the room,” said Shamshed Begum.
“By having a look at the voters list, I came to know my name is missing in the voter ID. Now, am planning to vote carrying my identity proofs,” added Nazma.
Corporator said that the plan has benefited more than 40 per cent of people and on the polling day they will display the boards in the radius of 200 mts. This will avoid the crowd in the polling station too. He has also erected ten hoardings from last ten days in the ward, asking people to exercise their franchise without fail.
As many as 17,21,197 voters to exercise franchise for 15 candidates
As many as 17,21,197 voters, out of which 8,54,665 women voters to decide the fate of 15 candidates in the Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha Constituency. The election will take place on April 17 from 7 am to 6 pm at 1,973 polling stations. 407 booths are categorised as hyper-sensitive, 564 as sensitive and 1,017 as general.
Eight mustering and de-mustering centers have been identified in the constituency. About 2,367 electoral officers, 2,367 assistant electoral officers and 4,734 polling officers have been appointed for 1,973 polling booths. In each polling station six officers will be rendering the service.
Apart this, 423 vehicles to transport the polling officers, which include 331 KSRTC Bus, 68 Matador, and 329 light motor vehicles.
Video Camera and Micro Observer has been placed at selected booths. Web casting system have been made at 120 Hyper-sensitive and vulnerable polling station.
Use of mobile phones, cameras at polling stations and broadcasting, publishing of exit polls report is prohibited on April 17 from 7 am to 6 pm. Counting is on May 16 from 8 am onwards at Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering.
The voters have to produce Passport, Driving License, PAN card, Aadhaar card or any other documents as ID proof to exercise the franchise.
Measures taken by cops
Mysore City Police Commissioner MA Saleem has stated in a release that appropriate measures have been taken to protect law and order and ensure the elections are held peacefully.
Stating additional police personnel will be beefed up in hyper sensitive booths, he has said that 806 polling booths come under Mysore City Police limits, out of which 222 are hyper sensitive, 64 very sensitive and 312 sensitive and 272 general.
48 cases has been registered in the Mysore District after Election Code of Conduct were declared. FIR has been booked in 33 cases. Rs 58.58 lakh cash, 4500 sarees and 185 liter alcohol beverages has been seized.
Women voters exceed men in three constituency
As per the electoral records, the number of registered women voters exceed the number of males in three constituencies out of eight, in the forthcoming Mysore-Kodagu Lok Sabha Elections.
As many as 106481 women (men 104326) voters will be exercising their franchise at Madikeri, while 1,14,599 at Krishnaraja Constituency (113756 men) and 1,13,841 voters at Narasimharaja constituency against 1,13,202 male voters. The difference in the men and women voters in the three constituencies are 2155, 843 and 639 respectively.
While there is thin difference in the number of women voters at Virajpet. The men top by only 56 in the constituency. There are 10,4224 women voters against 10,4280 men voters.
Apart from this, 141 others (transgenders, sexual minorities) will exercise their franchise in the constituency.
In the close heels, of a woman Jayamma had complained with Chief Miniser Siddaramaiah against his personal assistant Kumar urinating in front of her house, the officials of Mysore City Corporation are planning to provide toilet facility. Hundreds of people throng to CM's house during his arrival to hometown and they are not provided with basic facilities. It has even caused inconvenience for neighbours too. Thus, plans are being made to construct toilet room inside the premises of Chief Minister Siddaramaih's house at Saradadevi Nagar.
The construction of toilets will ease the burden of BP, Sugar, Diabetic patients who will be waiting for hours together to discuss their problems with CM. As per the sources, the people visitng CM”s house had a tough time without toilet facility in the locality and it was challenging task for visitors to attend the nature call. Left with no other choice the visitors attend the nature call where they feel convinent.
MCC Bhyrappa said that the provision to construct the public toilet in the area is difficult, whereas there is a proposal to construct toilet in the backyard of CM's house and the decision will be taken after elections. After Jayamma had complained that Kumar was urinating in front of her house, and assaulting her family members for objecting him.
People headed towards polling booths with smiling faces
The scene at the 16th Lok Sabha elections was totally different unlike in the past. Residents in most residential localities were seen heading towards their respective polling booths quite early in the morning, not waiting for the day to set in. Some were seen already making a beeline at the tables of the polling agents from 6.30 am.
Thanks for the repeated awareness programmes by various organisations including SVEEP, exhorting people to vote, seems to have a desired effect. The people were seemed determined to ensure they exercised their franchise without fail.
Residents of Yadavagiri, renowned as Pensioner’s Paradise, Gokulam, Vijayanagar, Kuvempunagar, Saraswathipuram, Ramakrishnanagar were seen standing in queue from 6.30 am itself. While many stood patiently, some even 30 minutes, in long queues, before casting vote.
For some their early morning brisk walk ended up at the polling booth as they caste their votes before heading back home. Women were also seen in large numbers standing in queue sharp at 7 am to cast their votes.
A resident of Gokulam, Cheluvaraj, who was casting his vote for fourth time said that “compared to the past three elections, the response is good this year, as more number of people were coming in to cast their votes. I feel people have realised that voting was the only way to bring the desired change.”
Another resident of Kuvempunagar, Noorulla, who is a fruit vendor said: “I open my shop daily around 6.30 am. I had displayed a notice board stating on the polling day, the shop will be opened only by 8 am as my priority today was to caste my vote first. Me and my family members exercised our franchise as soon the polling booth opened.”
Geetha, a resident of Saraswathipuram said: “Every day I come to walk in the evening. But today I decided to vote first, so I came out early in the morning as I didn't want to let go of my voting right today.”
Majority of the youngsters, including the first time voters have exercised their franchise only after thoroughly understanding and accepting the ideologies in the party.
Speaking to Express, some of the youngsters in the age group of 18 to 35 years said that they want their leader to eradicate corruption from country, to improve the country, solve unemployment problem, eradicate poverty, women empowerment, and other address the burning issues strongly. Thus, studying the details of every candidate we have cast vote for candidate who has good leadership qualirty.
Voter Nikhil Kashyap said: “Watching budget from last two weeks, learning about parties have voted for a right candidate. I want India to shine.”
Voter Sanjana said she had cast vote for the candidate who has the guts to face the burning problems of country and give importance for women empowerment.
While Deepit Sapru said: “We youngsters have decided to vote who work for the country, more than for themselves and their party. Discussing with several thinkers, keenly observing the debates have caste our vote.
First time voter Thiruch said: “Voting was very excitement and was fascinating. The moment is unforgettable in my life. Have made sure that I have voted for a right candidate.”
They had voter ID card, but their names were missing in list !
They had voter ID card, but their names were missing in list ! People wandering from one booth to other checking their names in the voter list was common sight witnessed in all the booths.
What was surprising is at most of the booths the entire family members names were missing in the voter list, though they had the voter ID card. The people were seen inquiring and struggling hard to know their names in the voter list by checking the list with all those were helping near booths.
Family members of Sharada say: “Once we enroll the names how can the names go missing, without our notice. We had voted in the same booth five years ago. Following personnel reason we could not vote at Assembly elections. This is sad that our names have been removed from voter list.”
While, the concerned citizen Nagaraj said that its the responsibility of the every citizen to oftenly check their names in the voter list. Its very unfortunate that amidst several awareness programmes the people had failed to check their name in the voter ID list, he regretted.