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Basanta Kumar Ghoroi, Beni Putul
Address: Village : Padmatamali
P.O : Dumardari; P.S : Bhupatinagar
Purba (East) Medinipur 721425
West Bengal

Sixty year old Basanta Kumar Ghoroi is a Beni Putul artist from Padmatamali village in East Medinipur, where the last surviving Beni Putul artists reside. Born into a family of traditional puppeteers, Basanta has been practising his art for more than 40 years. Basanta has continued the tradition by teaching his son, Amal and his grandson, nine year old Pratik. 

Basanta first started learning to perform with glove puppets and sing traditional songs when he was about 15. Dropping out of school after Class XIII, Basanta divided his day between learning puppetry and helping his father on the field.  Later, he also started learning to make the puppets - the clay heads and the wooden hands, that are typical of these remarkable glove puppets of West Bengal and he was nearly 25 when he mastered the  art of both making and performing with glove puppets.
In the old days, the songs sung would be mainly Puranic or based on popular stories about warring mothers-in-law and daughters-in-law. From the seventies, with encouragement from the state government, there was a gradual shift to social awareness themes. Basanta has composed more than 60 songs on such themes. Workshops and training programs were also conducted  to effect a change in the material used for these puppets. Thus started a slow shift from clay to lighter materials like papier mache and even thermocol. 

Unfortunately, just his beloved Beni Putul puppetry alone does not keep body and soul together and so for the past 20 years, Basanta has also had to depend on the income from a small tea shop he runs. He also sometimes manages to sell some puppets. But Basanta is not complaining, as long as he can continue practising his art. It is then up to us to help Basanta and his fellow puppeteers to keep this art alive.   
Basanta Kumar Ghoroi : Why "Beni" Putul?
Basanta Kumar Ghoroi : Beni Putul Artist