Udupi, Feb 18: At 'Article 19', Manipal Institute of Communication's core communication fest, Ishamuddin Khan, the magical madari, who is ranked as the 20th greatest magician in the world by Objective Productions, spoke about his life and experiences on the road on Friday February 17.
Coming from Kathputli colony, an artist’s slum, outside West Delhi Khan is best known for the “Great Rope trick”, which he successfully performed for the first time in 1995 in front of a crowd in Delhi. He was recognized all over the world in 1997 while he did the same trick but in front of a huge crowd consisting of 700 magicians and over a 1000 journalists and tourists at Udupi . Khan performed a few tricks in front of the crowd and received questions from the audience about the ban on street performers in Delhi and about his performances abroad.
Khan has performed in various European and Asian countries. He discussed his discovery of the rope trick and how these days, many people can perform it as it is not too difficult to grasp. He also spoke of the differences in response and respect that he received in Europe as a street performer. "There they sit down and make rows in front, take their phone out and switch it off. The respect shown by that gesture
makes me happy. In India, no one has the time to stop and watch. The mentality is like that, some think they’re too elite, too educated to watch a street magicians,” he said.
“We take out our shoes, walk barefoot towards each other and shake hands. I think it’s a very beautiful rule”, said Khan on how one performer reacts when they recognize another, no matter which tribe or act they do, while speaking about traditions among tribes.
He also stressed on the inadequate and unresponsive system that requires money and infrastructure to get things done. "I want to fight. I want to run. Just give me a platform,” he said.
Magician Professor Shankar was also present at the event.
Kalpana Sharma Discusses Women in Society and the Media
Also, Kalpana Sharma, gender columnist for The Hindu and author of the acclaimed book ‘Missing: Half the Story’ spoke on the topic ‘Journalism as if Gender matters’ on the second day of the communication fest Article-19.
The former deputy editor and chief of bureau of The Hindu covered a range of subjects within the context of media, including selective highlighting of news, the position of women in society and their expected roles and guidelines for effective journalism. “Even in the sports section, the women who are mentioned are the guy’s girlfriends or if the players are fetching,” she said while speaking of women as
the subjects of a report. Speaking of women and journalism, she stressed on covering every perspective of a subject. "I believe you cannot be a good journalist unless you understand issues and factors that are in society. To be a better journalist, incorporate a gender lens, poverty lens and a caste lens and make it more readable. The press can affect policy by getting out the information”, she explained, talking about
unraveling the ‘real’ story.
She raised the question of how the media decides the hierarchy of information and the consumers are in turn deluded into believing that they have been served the whole meal while only a partial meal has been presented. She also spoke about the trend of ‘Formula Effect’ in broadcast journalism where no matter what the news is, a businessman, sportsman and a Bollywood personality’s opinions would be aired despite it not being their area of expertise. She advised the students present, as future practitioners of the trade to understand and recognize such signs that concern the direction in which media is presently heading and change it.
“Why should women uphold the morals of society, why not men?”, she said during the interactive session with the audience where she addressed themes like reservations for women in politics, gender rights and the protests by women in Manipur.
The session was followed by a panel discussion on the topic ‘Spaces for Performing Art’, with Ishamuddin Khan, a renowned Indian street performer, Kalpana Sharma and K.V. Akshara, Kannada playwright and the head of Ninasam Theatre Institute in Heggodu, Karnataka, moderated by Dr Sundar Sarukkai, director, Manipal Centre for Philosophy and Humanities (MCPH).