This is Ishamudin Khan, a world famous magician from the Madari community in India who is little known in his own country. India has had a rich tradition of street performance but, unfortunately, today these are dying and street performers are a marginalised lot. Busking is not allowed in Indian cities today where discriminatory laws like the 1959 Bombay (Prevention of Beggary) Act are used to harass street performers while the colonial era Dramatic Performances Act 1876 makes it difficult for anyone to put up a performance in a public space.

Much respect to artists like Ishamudin who are trying to save the Indian traditional performing arts from disappearing through the initiative Indian Street Perfomers’ Association Trust (ISPAT). We need to support the initiative, along with several others over the world that are fast disappearing due to other reasons such as increasing privatization of our public spaces. Let us create cities where magicians and jugglers thrive, making our public spaces vibrant and safe.

Here’s more info on his work.

Here’s more information on street performance in India:

photos by Saket Prakash

Post written by: Swati Janu, Barsati