Reformed thieves to show off their aesthetic sense

A once-thieving community from Kalaburgi district has now transformed itself into a group of people manufacturing handicraft products.

The community, which had been traditionally involved in theft as a profession for years, will now showcase its products at the MG Road Open Road Festival to be held on February 21 here.
Speaking with Deccan Herald, General Manager (Finance) and chief spokesperson of Bengaluru Metropolitan Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL), Vasanth Rao, said the community was keen to take part in the show. This was brought to the notice of BMRCL by an artiste, Gopi Krishna, when he heard of the show.

“Gopi Krishna has single-handedly transformed the ‘thieving’ community. He has trained them in making handicrafts. His logic was why not get the community to do constructive things and earn a few rupees rather than steal. Their reputation, too, would change and they would also have a job to do. The earnings would take their attention away from thieving,” said Rao. At the show, people will get to know about different communities in the State and the products they make.

Krishna started involving individuals gradually to take up various constructive activities and has after months of struggle helped them reform themselves. “Handicrafts will be an exotic show and will bring to light the innate talent of communities,” Rao said. The roadshow would also have special Chinese and German Green tents for people showcase and sell their products. While the Chinese tent is more aesthetic and fine, the German Green tent is coarse and rugged. The former can have more aesthetic activities, while the latter will have tough activities.

There will be special lighting around the tents and booking will cost Rs 25,000. Metro officials say they are seeking only minimal rent for these spaces. Even then, it would not match the cost incurred by the Metro and other departments to organise the event. The MG Road Show will also see busking activities. In busking, people play music they like and have a box, bag or jerkin in front of them for people to drop coins.

Busking is popular in Europe, the US and Latin America, particularly at railway stations, pub districts and culture streets where artistes play music from one end of the street to the other. Such streets are permanent culture centres. The MG Road Open Show aims to recreate this atmosphere here, the organisers said.

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