Udaipur : With sudden spike in cases of COVID-19 comes, stigma, myths and superstitions related to the disease and hence to dispel the myths and spread a basic scientific understanding of the public health measure behind the pandemic, the Dungarpur administration has resorted to comics, puppet shows to enlighten the people. There have been a sudden spurt in positive cases in the district due to the heavy inflow of migrant workers from Maharashtra, Gujarat and Karnataka cities. More than 1.25 lakh migrants had entered the Dungarpur border recently.
“Since we have borders with Gujarat villages, we deemed it essential to take up a special initiative to sensitize people on the significance of social distancing, isolation and quarantine. We thought of reviving the traditional means of entertainment i.e puppet shows, folk songs and comics that were in trend in the 80s” collector Kanaram told .
Since the puppet shows could not be held physically, they were recorded, similarly the comics were not printed in hard copy but in electronic form to be disseminated to the school going children. Chhaya Choubisa, the incharge of the public information cell and her team of artists took the task as a challenge and created a video series of puppet shows, e-comics, pamphlets, slogans that have been circulated to people via social media i.e whatsapp and facebook etc.
“There are some 3 lakh school children being benefited of the online study mode through the district education office and 40 percent of them have access to smartphones. Our puppet shows and comics are being made available to them digitally which has been successful in sensitizing thousands of household on COVID related information. The information has been created according to the local needs, for which vernacular content is important, hence the language chosen is Vagdi dialect which has proven effective in spreading awareness among the common” Chhaya said.
The administration is using the local cable network too for imparting the puppet shows which has messages on sanitation, lock down etc. People are liking these episodes which are being downloaded in good numbers through you tube channels. According to officials, the efforts has proven fruitful in dispel of myths and misinformation on the disease and now people are taking all caution by maintaining social distancing. Even in wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom and the guests are taking precautions by wearing mask.