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AIDS awareness through folk arts

WITH A MESSAGE: Artistes performing at a workshop for cultural troupes on AIDS awareness in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Folk artistes will be performing in villages and towns, subtly promoting awareness about AIDS/HIV. The Song and Drama Division (SDD) of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is holding workshops for folk troupes to train them to include understated messages about the disease in order to prevent its further spread. Street play actors, for example, will bring up the issue of AIDS in their performances by skilfully weaving it into the storyline instead of an in-your-face manner. Yakshagana, puppetry and Srikrishna Parijatha troupes in Karnataka and katha prasangam, kalaripayattu, and vilpaattu troupes in Kerala are being used to achieve the goal, according to SSD’s Regional Centre Manager Jitendra Panpatil. The country has 12.5 lakh people with AIDS as on August 31, 2006, according to the National AIDS Control Organisation (NACO) attached to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. SSD sources said that the troupes would perform in districts identified as worst-hit by NACO. In Karnataka, for example, it has identified 25 of the 27 districts and two in Kerala. Six other districts in Kerala are in the second category. The regional centre of the SDD here held a two-day interface between artistes and experts from Tuesday. As many as 92 artistes belonging to 14 folk art forms from different districts participated. They attempted to make their performances effective in order to inspire people to take precaution to prevent the spread of AIDS. Presentation style A team from the Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society including Additional Project Director of B.S. Premaleela, Joint Director S.G. Ravindra and Deputy Director G.B. Meti helped them achieve accuracy of the messages included in performances. SDD Deputy Director H.V. Krishnamurthy guided them on maintaining the format — unique style of presentation of different folk arts.The city-based Yakshadegula that specialises in Yakshagana and Lalitakala Ranga of Mariyammanahalli in Bellary district that specialises in street plays are among the troupes participating. Barring Shimoga and Chickmagalur, all the districts have been identified by the centre as “A-grade” districts as regards the spread of AIDS/HIV infection, according to SDD sources.


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