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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Artists want Kathputli Colony to be declared as Heritage Artists Village

delhi Updated: Nov 20, 2017 16:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Residents of the Kathputli Colony observed a silent vigil at Press Club of India on  November 18.
Residents of the Kathputli Colony observed a silent vigil at Press Club of India on November 18.(Sonu Mehta/HT PHOTO)

New Delhi

Artists of Kathputli Colony in west Delhi’s Shadipur, who have been shifted out for redevelopment of the area, demanded on Saturday that their colony be declared as a ‘Heritage Artists Village’.

The residents came together at a programme organised in the wake of a demolition drive in the colony on October 30. Many houses were razed to the ground by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), as part of its Delhi Master Plan 2021, to construct multi-storey buildings.

Artists said the colony has been home to generations of puppeteers, jugglers, folk singers, musicians, drummers, dancers and other traditional performing artists. They said the colony should be declared a ‘Heritage Artists Village’ to save the livelihoods of the people.

According to them, an artist’s village will have large performance space area, eateries for tourists and exhibition hall of photographs and videos featuring the lives of the community’s artists and their performances.

The artists said Kathputli Colony was their livelihood space. But after the demolition drive, they have been left out in the streets to suffer the cold weather without homes or means of livelihood.

“We as artists have represented the country and its heritage in national and international events. Foreign tourists come and watch us. Now we have no roofs over our heads,” said Laxmi, a resident of Kathputli Colony for 40 years.

The artists shared their views at the interaction held at the Press Club on Saturday afternoon. The aim of the programme was to highlight how the demolition of the colony has affected the culture and heritage associated with the neighbourhood.

Dilip Bhatt, the pradhan of the community, said that he was only 11 years old when he came to Kathputli Colony.

“The whole area was a jungle back then. We put up tents and eventually artists from other states joined us. We built our artist community and over the years gained recognition for our talent. But things changed in recent years. Now the artists have lost their homes,” he said

The artists alleged that they were beaten up and forcibly evicted from their homes during the demolition drive on October 30. However, police and DDA officials denied the allegations.

During the last three years, 1,355 families have shifted to a transit accommodation at Anand Parbat. However, some families have stayed put, refusing to move out.

First Published: Nov 20, 2017 16:19 IST

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