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"Puppetry"

 

In Rajasthan, there is only one tradition of puppetry-the marionette tradition-in which the puppets are manipulated by strings. We have no examples of shadow or glove puppetry. I t is possible that this string puppet tradition could have migrated all the way from Rajasthan to Maharashtra, Karnataka and west Bengal, but we can't be sure. In fact, there is no clear evidence about the origins of puppetry in Rajasthan itself. All that we have are some legendary stories that pass off as history.

"Repertoire"

Traditional Kathputli play of Rajasthan is known by the name of Amar Singh Rathore-ka-khel (play of Amar Singh Rathore ). He is a historical character of seventeenth century during the reign of Mugal Empire, contemporary to Shah Jahan. Amar Singh Rathore belonged to royal family of Jodhpur state and was eldest son of Gaj Singh. Thus the throne of Jodhpur was inherent to him by natural succession but the king was infuriated with him, therefore Maharaja Gaj Singh appointed the younger brother Jaswant Singh as his heir apparent. Amar Singh was given Subedari of Nagaur area in Marwar which was under the central rule of Mughal Emperor. Due to this faithfulness to the Emperor he served as one of the important courtier of Mughal court. But his sharp contours of character always bruised fellow courtiers. He came in controversy with Salawat Khan who was brother-in-law of the Mughal Emperor and his trustworthy courtier.

The discomfort between the two grew to the extent that one day Amar Singh found an opportunity to slay Salawat khan in open court and in very presence of the Emperor. Total confusion prevailed, everyone ran to save their lives.

Emperor Shah Jahan found it difficult to suppress Amar Singh. Therefore he employed Arjun Gaur, brother-in-law of Amar Singh and conspired with him to kill Amar Singh. One day Arjun Gaur found opportunity to bring Amar Singh to the court and stealthily stabbed in his back.

Due to fear of the people's revolt Amar singh dead body was kept under guard at Agra and nobody was allowed to take it to Nagaur for cremation. Finally Amar Singh's nephew Ram Singh bravely broke the cordon and bought the body of Amar Singh for the cremation.

 

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