Sunday, October 23, 2016

The tradition of doll making disappearing in cultural city

The culture of making dolls is vanishing in the cultural city Mysuru.  Earlier large numbers of people were engaged in making traditional dolls and were displayed during Navaratri Festival.

The dolls were kept based on themes, and elders in the house used to narrate the stories to the children and visitors based on the themes dolls were displayed.  This was helping the children to learn about mythological stories, history, rulers, heritage and cultural significances, etc. Whereas down the years not only the doll makers, while those display dolls are also declining.

Lack of space crunch to store the dolls collection at houses, change in life style, easily available readymade dolls, lack of interests among young generation are said to be the reasons. Couple of the traditional doll makers who are in 60’s to 70s admitted that there are no new comers in doll making, and the tradition of doll making is disappearing.

“Except those displaying dolls from last more than six decades we can find the home made dolls. The things have change in a drastic way, and the doll making is in extinct. As most of the women are working class, those come forward to place dolls are also very few. It appears in few years the traditional might completely stop,” they opine.

85-year-old Prema Vittal, who has stopped placing dolls from last couple of years, due to  lack of support from younger generation said: ‘Now-a-days people are not showing enthusiasm to make dolls at home. There were days where few months prior to Navaratri dolls were created and beautifully decorated. We are missing the grandeur of the Navaratri festival today. In last two decades lot of changes has taken place in related to cultural and traditional aspects.’

Sexagerian Mangala Sathyan who wanted to keep the tradition alive, introduced an concept of awarding prizes for best doll show three decades ago. Whereas, from last couple of years she has stepped back due to lack of support, and interests among women folk.

She says: “Its hard to find even a couple of doll makers now-a-days. Some of them bring ready dolls and place them just for a show off and no theme based dolls are placed. The tradition and concept of Navaratri has changed completely. Without any traditional touch, few place dolls for namesake and to take part in doll show contests. Doll show helps to know our neighbours and build harmony. There is need of reviving the lost art form and engage people to continue with doll keeping tradition and making dolls, and not to give traditional practice.”

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