The Center for Soft Power interacted with puppeteers from around the world at the Dhaatu International Puppet Festival 2020.
Dattatreya Aralikatte spoke about the connection between the puppeteer and the puppet, saying that there is a spirit of oneness that binds the two. He spoke about the various Indian traditions of Ayurveda and Vedanta and how they were reflected in the puppet traditions.
Giancarlo Casati, started off as a street artiste, but is now touring all over the world. He says that India has a rich tradition and said Dhaatu is one of the few organisations around the world promoting the art.
Ramesh Kasargod showed how the Yakshagana puppeteers have to know the art of Yakshagana dance and music. He makes his own puppets and his puppets are found in museums around the world.
Dance and puppetry have gone hand in hand as is seen with the Yakshagana puppets. Reda Hassanin of Cairo said that India has led the way in promoting and preserving puppetry. He said puppetry helps to preserve the past and go into the future with a sense of deep pride in one's culture. His puppets are always accompanied by a sufi dancer.
Ma Ma Naing of Mandalay told CSP that while India's puppets are 5000 years old, that of Myanmar is only 500 years old. Some of their stories are adapted from the Jataka tales.