On the World Theatre Day on Monday the theatre artists in Kashmir highlighted their plight and made an appeal to concerned government departments to help them in the revival of the theatre.
The artists said that with every passing day their problems increase, and there is an immediate need for solution of these problems.
They also made an appeal to the television (Doordarshan) and radio authorities to provide them a helping hand in this connection.
The concerned government departments and officials must look into the genuine demands of these artists and see how they can be helped in their difficult time.
The theatre artists in Kashmir had to struggle hard from the very beginning not only to establish themselves but also to popularise the theatre here. Unlike other parts of the country, the theatre could not gain that much popularity and could not create too much space for itself here.
Still those associated with it were trying their level best to work hard and move forward. In the process some eminent theatre personalities came into limelight and got appreciation for their work.
The main theatre activity area continued to remain confined to Srinagar city and a couple of towns. Drama clubs were also set up at various places. The traditional folk theatre -"Band Pather"- which was earlier very popular, though mostly in rural areas, too lost sheen with the passage of time.
It is hardly visible now. Most senior artists have passed away and their younger generations have switched over to other professions. Dramas of Radio Kashmir Srinagar remained popular for a long time among the listeners.
Later the arrival of Doordarshan squeezed the space of radio to some extent. Theatre in Kashmir despite its limited presence continued to bear the brunt of various emerging challenges on the entertainment front. Today when it is struggling for survival, there is no end to the challenges.
Availability of other strong means of entertainment are making its path more difficult. Theatre being a strong medium with a direct connect between the artists and the audience needs to survive.
For that the required encouragement to the artists by the concerned government departments is also required. But only government help cannot change things, those associated with theatre too will have to re-dedicate themselves with more commitment, zeal and enthusiasm into their work to see better things ahead.