As Swine Flu panic along with other parts of the world takes
Malegaon also into its grip, Malegaon Municipal Corporation (MMC) is resorting to a novel way to
create awareness about the deadly disease.
The otherwise languid and inept MMC
since last fifteen days is organising Nukkad Nataks -
the term used for street plays in the Indian sub continent in various localities of
the densely populated Muslim dominated textile town in North Maharashtra
to make people aware of the actions to be taken in case symptoms of
the disease are found, teach people about the
dos and don'ts of the disease and the precautionary measures to
avoid the disease.
"There are around 13 confirmed cases
of Swine Flu in Malegaon so far. Owing to the danger and epidemic
nature of the disease we are taking all medical and clinical
measures to control the disease", says Dr. Husnuddin Shaikh.
Dr. Shaikh - one of the Medical
Officers in the civic hospital - in absence of the ailing concerned
officer is also working as the Health Officer of Malegaon right now.
"However", Dr. Shaikh adds, "As the
town is densely populated and has a huge population of illiterate
people, we are using the help of the local artists to stage
Nukkad Nataks at various places in Malegaon to create awareness about the disease among
Siraj Dular: The Father of drama in Malegaon...
While Siraj Dular
(L) is regarded as the Father of drama and stage shows in Malegaon, Asif Subhani
(R) is considered as Dular's able successor. Together, both of
them have staged more than 50 street plays so far. Prominent
among them is their play on communal harmony 'Sare jahan se
accha Hindustan hamara'. Staged in 2001, the play won the
Malegaon is so densely populated that
it has 62,000 people living per square kilometer of land against the
normal 20,000. The irony is that most of the people in the town
having half a million population are not literate. Consequently any
attempt to educate them through conventional means fail to yield the
desired result. Hence the civic body is using unconventional method
like street plays to educate the natives. Luckily, Malegaon, besides having
Mollywood - a
local film industry famous for producing film remakes of the popular Bollywood movies
- also has quite a few number of artists talented enough to stage
plays in short notice.
"The Municipal Commissioner invited us
to stage a play on swine flu and gave us a week's time. We rehearsed
it in three days and in last fifteen days we have managed to stage
it at 50 different places in Malegaon", says Siraj Dular.
Siraj Dular is the Writer
and Director of the MMC play on Swine Flu which is titled as 'Jaago
Sono Walo'. Dular is the president of Malegaon Arts and Cultural
Association. In fine-tuning the play, he was assisted by Asif
Subhani and other members of his association. While Siraj Dular is regarded as
the Father of drama and stage shows in Malegaon, Asif Subhani is considered as Dular's able successor.
The theme of the play is to create
awareness about the disease and undermine the fear and panic. The
most important part of the play is that at the end the play artists
ask questions and seek the answers from the audience to know how
much they have learnt.
Interestingly, despite the fact that
some of the artists are poor powerloom laborers who have to
sacrifice the day's earnings to make them available for acting in
the play, Malegaon Arts & Cultural Association has offered its
services totally free. Seems like a charity by an empty stomach. But this is what Malegaon is all about.