-By Ms. Renu Bhagwat, Associate Professor, IICD, Jaipur
Nukkad in India is not just a word, it is an emotion of people performing to create awareness among the general public on a certain topic. Nukkad Natak in English is known as Street Play and as the name implies, are presentations or acts in an open area in mostly large groups. Anyone can watch it free of cost and is mainly designed for common people. These Nukkad Natak are a type of street play that are proudly associated with our magnificent cultural history and it is one of the oldest form of storytelling and was used in communicating and connecting with the general public on important issues.
There are several advantages of Nukkad Natak. They approach audience naturally. Audience does not come prepared to watch a play, and people may not have much time on hand. The plays are short. The exchange is close, direct and intimate and is usually loud and larger than life. For a Nukkad Natak, script and direction is always significant.
A developing country like India that has the lives of its citizens so intertwined with handicrafts, awareness among producers and consumers about Fair Trade practices is of utmost importance. So we at IICD Jaipur, decided to create awareness about World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) and Fair Trade practices through Nukkad Natak. It was part of our Professional Practices Module for Post Graduate (PG) M.Des 3rd Semester Students. Rather than giving routine assignments to write about the aspects of Fair Trade and examples of Fair Trade, idea was to use creative teaching strategies & use Nukkad Natak as a modern teaching aid to engage them more creatively for the cause. Also building team spirit, peer group engagement & creative learning were hidden agendas for the assignment.
Fair trade practice has two sides, one from producer point of view and other from the consumer point of view. From consumer point of view everyone’s heard the term Fair Trade. The words summons images of coffee, chocolate, Handicrafts and happy farmers with fresh produce advertised on a product. Most consumers have an idea that Fair Trade products are probably a good choice but it is not necessary that they also understand the fair trade definition.
Fair trade for producers was developed out of a response to the negative results of unfair trade practices and the widening divide between the developed countries and developing countries. Since its inception, the Fair Trade movement has been growing at an exponential rate as more consumers realize that while many there are many benefits from open markets, subsidized commodity items, and products that are mass-produced- many farmers, artisans, and children are losing their livelihoods, freedoms and in the worst cases, human rights.
Asking IICD students to present Nukkad Natak on Fair trade practices is an effort to create awareness among young craft designers towards buying more ethical products and also encouraging them to start ethical practice if any of them is planning on to start entrepreneurial journey. Students presented street plays on topics like Gender based discrimination & work place abuse, Child Labour, unfair practice of middlemen, choosing handmade and locally made produce over low quality mass-produce, etc.
Due to COVID 19, for last two years all the students were at home and were studying online, they were super excited for this new creative and culturally responsive teaching and assignment. This experience of directing, acting and compiling Nukkad Natak was truly enjoyed by students.
It is equally important for us to explore new teaching aid idea and use a more communicative language in teaching. Perhaps advantages of street play are more than we have explored and many more subjects can be turned into Nukkad Natak topics.
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