In the traditional society of yesteryear, the Bhats poets did play a key role as they kept the genealogical histories of each family alive. They not only praised the casts they were serving, the princes and the proud warriors called Rajputs, but they also bore the memory of these casts, and were able to tell the endless genealogy of each family.
Some are Bhopas, either poets or soothsayers, like those reciting the Pabuji Pad, the story of Pabuji. The Puppet Theater Kathputli enables the Bhats to extend their social role and maintain their fame. They tell the doings of the former lords living at the time of King Vikramadityale in the 8th century.
Each night, the 32 characters of this theater were alive again to sing, dance and do acrobatics, for the only pleasure of the insomniac sovereign.
Made of wood, the puppets of the Katpulti are the most usual in North India. The chest and the arms are made of fabrics filled with stuffing and the lower part is composed by a long floating skirt of cotton layers or silk muslin.
The puppets are manipulated with a single string. One end is fixed on the head and the other end on the belt. Sometime princesses, animals, gods or even treacherous warriors move and whirl in the spiral of their ephemeral life, following the rhythm of the strident wheezing of the music…