The Kathputli Colony is situated in the neighbourhood of the Naraina Industrial Area, Kirti Nagar, Shadipur and Patel Nagar. 

The area spanning across nearly 14 acres is home to over 2,800 families of various artists ranging from street performers, puppeteers, dancers, magicians, etc.

Source: parcitypatory.org

The colony is known to be the world’s largest community of street performers. However, after the Covid-19 pandemic hit, life has taken a 360 degree turn for the residents of this colony. 

The area once bustling with tourists, radiating the cultural uniqueness of India has now become a transit camp for the artists who are struggling to make their daily ends meet.

The income of these artists varied from day to day based on the number of people who visited. However, due to the pandemic, their daily earnings fell all the way down to zero since their only mode of income was now non-existent.

Looking at the desperation and hopelessness among the residents of Kathputli, Vijay Maitri, an activist and theatre performer himself stepped in to help the community from failing. Vijay has been fighting for the rights of the Kathputli colony for the past 10 years. 

He started off with a group of people who helped those families who were in dire need of food and other basic amenities. Slowly, as the days of the lockdown got extended along with the helplessness of the artists, the team took it upon themselves to work tirelessly and aid all the 2,800 families. 

Looking at the desperation and hopelessness among the residents of Kathputli, Vijay Maitri, an activist and theatre performer himself stepped in to help the community from failing. Vijay has been fighting for the rights of the Kathputli colony for the past 10 years. 

One tiny room is provided to each family of 3-4 people and they are required to share a common bathroom with multiple other families. 

Considering the impossibility of social distancing in a small space like Kathputli colony, the team of volunteers began distributing masks, sanitizers along with ration and sanitary pads to the families to ensure that they were also safe from the coronavirus. 

In addition to the lack of amenities, the facilities that are provided also lack quality. The taps present in the community bathrooms in the transit camp are not connected to a water supply. 

The water supply is fairly irregular and as tankers come only once a day. Only 15 tankers are provided for an area inhabited by over 2000 people and hence, sometimes families are unable to receive any water. 

Even when we reach a new normal, the future in Kathputli seems to remain bleak. Until the public functions and wedding seasons resume, the artists will be unable to perform any events. Along with donations, the community is attempting to adapt and is in search of more platforms that would enable them to showcase their skills, perhaps in a virtual medium.