Our city – Udaipur is completely filled with beauty in and out. And this beauty is not reflected in just its history, culture and its places, but also in its people. There are some gem of the people belonging from Udaipur who, with their hard work and success, have not just made the city but the entire nation proud.
But sadly, with time we tend to forget the accomplishment of such people of the city. The series ‘People from Udaipur you should know about’ tends to glorify the journey of these famous and triumphant people from Udaipur who have become an epitome of success in their lives.
Devi Lal Samar
Devilal Samar was born on 30th July 1911 in an Oswal family of Udaipur. He had a great interest in dance, theatre, puppetry and all the folk art forms of Rajasthan. For 10 years, he was a music, dance, and language teacher in Vidhya Bhawan school of Udaipur. After teaching in the school, he used to go to the nearby villages and spend his day amidst the artists residing there.
Folk dance and local art forms weren’t given much respect back then. The people who had acquired the art used to feel inferior of themselves. These people belonged to the lower castes and untouchables. Devilal wanted to build a platform for all such people who can showcase their talent and get respect and livelihood against it.
At the age of 42, he left his teaching profession and decided to spend his life in promoting the folk and local art forms. He determined to establish one organization that will give a boost to these abandoned people and their art forms. In the year 1952, he established Lok Kala Mandal in Udaipur.
But his mission wasn’t accomplished yet. He made a list of all the renowned artists from nearby places who were not given the respect they deserved, collected them at one place, appealed to the government to provide them lands to live and conducted many functions and events that helped all these artists to live a life of respect with their heads held high. This act of him helped many such people to get jobs in radio, Television shows, theatre and even in education.
Beginning of Puppetry
During one of his tours in Rajasthan, he found an old man who had mortgaged his puppets to a businessman. With one puppet remaining with himself, he was begging on the street trying to entertain the wayfarer. It hurt Devi Lal to look at artists in such conditions. He gave 40 rupees from his pocket (back in that time) to the old man so that he can release all his puppets. It struck his mind that this art form needs Kala Mandal’s attention. From then on, Puppet shows and puppetry became a major part of Lok Kala Mandal. He also began the first puppet festival in the year 1952. Today, there’s a separate puppet theatre in Lok Kala Mandal where puppet shows are conducted at regular intervals.
Achievements and Notable Works
- In the year 1968, Devilal Samar was awarded the civilian award ‘Padmashree’ for his excellent work in the field of art and culture by Indian Government.
- The state government made him the director of Rajasthan Sangeet Natak Akademi in the year 1967.
- In the year 1969, he was awarded the title of ‘Loknatyashree’ at Kalidas Akademi in Ujjain.
- In his lifetime, he has published several Rajasthani theatre, puppetry and art books in Hindi some of which are Bhartiya Loknrtiya, Antarman, Lokrang, Rajasthan ka Lok Sangeet, Rajasthani Loknatya, Rajasthan ke Rawal, etc.
- He established folk-theatre museum Bharatiya Lok Kala Mandal which escalated the importance of folk art and culture of Rajasthan.
Devilal has dedicated all his life to folk art, dance, music, folk drama, puppet and to give a life of respect to all the artists in the society.
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