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Swine Flu awareness through Nukkad Natak, MMC sets precedent

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 08:34:45 AM, Staff Reporter

Video: The artists graciously agreed to stage the play specially for This time inside the historic fort in Malegaon

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Malegaon: 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 the people."


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 state award. 

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.









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