Theater Artiste Trapped In Grinding Poverty
The life story of Satish Shrinivas paste, a theater artist hailing from Rampur village of Jamkhandi taluk, is no different from that of the versatile Charlie Chaplin who made the entire world laugh despite going through the pains of poverty. He is currently working in the drama company of Panchakshari Gavai at Ugargol Village in Saundatti taluk. An artist, who has dedicated his heart whole and soul to drama, is struggling for two square meals a day in the changed circumstances where theater is losing significance. The situation pushed him to quit his close-to-heart profession. It was his dream to get a good education, but poverty forced him to choose his hobby as a profession. But now with public interest in theater on the decline, the drama company is unable to organize plays on a routine basis. Paste, who has never worked in any other field, is now struggling to earn his livelihood. He has over 1000 certificates of appreciation, trophies and rewards presented by the drama organizing committees in various villages, but none of them have come forward to help him. According to paste, this is not the situation of just one artist but of many others who organize plays in rural north Karnataka where theater art has some value. But the world of entertainment is going through many changes, posing a threat to the art. The state government has failed to recognize the efforts of such artists to save theater art. Vidyavati Bajantri, deputy director, Kannada and culture department said Rs. 30000 is funded for historical dramas staged in public that are registered with the department. “There was a delay, but payments for last year have been completed. A Rs. 1,500 pension is also being given to artists aged over 58” she added. It is not necessary that one should play in dramas sponsored by department to avail government facilities, she clarified.