Bhubaneswar: The State Information Commission has hit upon a novel way to propagate the RTI Act. It has started training Daskathia artistes to tell people about the virtues of the Act at a three-day workshop here that began on Monday. As many as 60 such performers are participating in the workshop.

"Daskathia is a very popular and powerful folk form in Orissa. Most of its audience do not have access to TV, radio or newspapers, sp if a message is transmitted through these artistes it would reach the masses," said State Information Commissioner Prof Radhamohan.

Daskathia has been regularly staged during festivals and social functions for the last 700 years. Each Daskathia group consists of two artistes who perform for three to four hours. They recite small mythological scripts in the lyrical form with a pair of small sticks that is the sole musical instrument.

"We were taught about the RTI Act and how it is a powerful tool for the common man to check corruption. We have incorporated these facts in our script," said Ramahari Padhi, a senior Daskathia player. "Our characters and plots are same. We have just added this information about the Act," Padhi added.

"Despite the technical advancement there are some places where people still depend on these traditional art forms as their main source of entertainment," said Kalindi Charan Hota, an artiste from Dhenkanal folk forms like Pala, Ghoda Nacha, Sankir-tan, Dalkahi and Harikatha to motivate people to use the law. After the training, each group was given 25 minutes to perform on stage from where a few groups will be selected by the commissioner for the job.

"The artistes would make people aware that they have all the right to know how the government is functioning and as tax payers what is happening to their money. And, whatever information they seek would be given to them in 30 days time or the officer will be punished".

Source : The Times of India
Orissa India

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