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Rampada Ghoroi, Beni Putul
Address: Permanent :
Village : Padmatamli, P.O : Dumardari;
P.S : Bhupatinagar; Block : Mugberia;
Purba Medinipur 721425
West Bengal

Current :
Prantik Palli
36 Hatishur Colony
P.O & P.S : Kasba
Kolkata 700042
West Bengal
Rampada Ghoroi is a traditional Beni Putul Naach exponent and farmer, who migrated to Kolkata in order to survive as a full-time puppeteer in the traditional glove puppet form. His family has performed Beni Putul Naach for the past 80 years. 

When his village was affected by floods as a young man, Rampada Ghoroi was advised by people in the village to go to school and get himself an education.  Wandering from village to village, he finally came to Kolkata and procured a job looking after buffaloes for a family. He then enrolled for night classes nearby. Unhappy though with his circumstances, he  resumed his wandering after a year, moving from village to village, performing with his Beni Putul. 

He finally returned to Kolkata and got himself a job at Jadavpur University, working as a helper in the university`s canteen. He was about 18 or 19 then. However, his restlessness took a hold of him yet again, and he left his job to return to his traditional art as a wandering puppeteer. This time however, he kept in touch with his previous employers and would visit them now and again. He eventually managed to get a permanent job at the university as a class IV employee, probably helped along by the fact that on the evening prior to the interview, his puppet act had been featured on a popular TV channel.

The following year,  introduced to a Japanese puppet  troupe by the  eminent Suresh Datta of Calcutta Puppet Theatre, he found himself invited to Japan, accompanied by his mentor. Rampada has also visited the UK under the aegis of the Crafts Council of West Bengal.  He has travelled around within the country too.  Though settled in Kolkata, Rampada has not lost touch with his roots. 

In his village, Rampada finds that there has been a gradual shift to social themes from the earlier Puranic stories, since the last decade or so. This has happened because the government has used these art forms to propagate social messages. Thus  puppetry themes are now mostly based on sanitation, anti dowry, polio, women`s equality, etc. 

Rampada performs both Puranic themes such as the Slaying of Kangsha (Kongshobod), Draupadi and Manasha  as well as social themes. He incorporates some modern, topical touches to keep pace with changing times, be it on anti-smoking, anti-dowry or the changing role of the traditional woman. Music from popular movies or mention of a national calamity may find their way into the tune or lyrics of his songs.  He has taught his son, Somnath, his art and proudly tells us that Somnath is now the recipient of a government scholarship for puppetry. 

From the 80 odd families who used to ply this art, there are only 7 or 8 today. There are many among the remaining families who know the art and still have their dolls, but do not perform anymore. Yet Rampada feels that irrespective of the circumstance that a  puppeteer finds himself in, he can always depend upon his trusted ally, his insurance against hard times - his puppets and his art.   


 
Videos
Rampada Ghoroi : Bina Pon ey Biye