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Master Jaswant Singh `Tootan Wala' - Punjabi Folk Musician. | by Captain Suresh Sharma
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Master Jaswant Singh `Tootan Wala' - Punjabi Folk Musician.

I met this gentleman with mesmerizing smile, Master Jaswant Singh, Tootan Wala, drawing teacher by profession. He is part of a Punjabi troupe, that has come from Abohar, to perform at the Craft Mela. It took me only a few seconds to get his consent to pose for an exclusive photo session. We had a very fruitful photo session in the open `green room’ area, behind the main stage for cultural activities. He has a very pleasing and charming personality. Master Jaswant Singh is playing string instrument which is known as `Ikk Tara’ means instrument with one string.


The 1st Chandigarh National Craft Mela is in progress (24th October to 2nd Nov) at Kalagram, Chandigarh. Its been organized by the Chandigarh Administration. There was so much of `hooo hooo’ about it in the newspapers that I decided to barter it for Pushkar Cattle Fair, a decision I have to repent now. The Craft Mela is far from being `cultural extravaganza’, as promised, and I had expected it to be so, but sadly it’s the same `run-of-the-mill’. Then to add to this, the comfort level for visitors is almost zero i.e. extremely poor parking, `in and exit’ from the main road is very poorly managed. Poor signage all around! Imagine, no one knows that one has to buy an entry ticket, the security guards at the main gate have to signal and send everyone by few feet to the ticket window. I did not find any exciting handicrafts, very usual stuff on display, not even much variety of national level. The main stage, where cultural activities take place, is very poorly located, no consideration for light for photographers, afternoon setting sun falls into the eyes of spectators and one has to raise one hand over the eyes to improvise as a shade. No one knows what is next, no one is in control of the stage; announcer for the session does a round in the so called `green room’ area and consults artists for the next item.


Food stalls are few in numbers and can’t cater for the number of visitors. To add to the misery in this area – food is served in flimsy `thermocol’ plates and no tables, other than two small ones for the entire venue. I saw people with tilted plates, like an elephant ear will do if placed on a hand, and spilling curry over their dresses and cursing the organizers.


No one had put `heart and soul’ into organizing it, which was quite evident. It was only to please bosses and earn good `ACRs’.


God Bless them?


P.S. It was a day light shoot, no artificial background used, shot `in situ'.


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Taken on October 22, 2008