| IAS officer Inayat Khan at a show at Pandarak village in Patna rural. Telegraph picture |
Young and energetic IAS probationer Inayat Khan has donned the mantle of director and playwright to drive home the importance of voting during the general election.
Khan is the block development officer (BDO) of Pandarak block under the Barh sub-division in Patna district. She has also scripted eight short plays to inspire the electorate in rural areas.
Khan, a Bihar-cadre officer undergoing six months’ mandatory field training, has formed a group of 10 folk artistes, who perform plays in remote villages under Mokama Assembly segment of Munger Lok Sabha constituency.
Khan, who ensures that she is present during most of the shows, is overwhelmed by the response of the people in the past few days. “Since the polling percentage has increased in urban areas, the voters of remote areas should also be motivated. I have come to know that the voters’ turnout was very low at the polling booths in the Mokama Tal area during the previous elections.”
A BTech in electronics, Khan has coined some interesting slogans like vote hamara adhikar hai, banana sundar sarkar hai and kare matdaan and banaye desh mahaan. The artistes of the group performed plays in over a dozen villages, including Biharibigha, Batopur, Bhadaura, Lalpura and Samiyagarh, in the Mokama Tal region in the last week.
Elaborating on the importance of short plays to spread public awareness, Khan said: “The plays have been scripted in a simple language so that the rural masses can easily grasp. Each member of the group has been imparted training for the purpose. This is the only means to communicate directly with the rural voters,” she said.
Unlike urban areas, there is no other means to make the people aware of their rights to vote. “People seldom use Internet here. They have no access to social networking sites. The idea of street plays struck me soon after the elections were announced on March 5. But it took a few days to translate my thoughts into reality. I have also got support from my seniors such as Patna district magistrate-cum returning officer N. Saravana Kumar and Barh sub-divisional officer Deore Nitish,” she said.
“The artistes would be provided certificates by the district administration for their co-operation apart from remuneration,” she said.
The voters, too, appeared happy over the novel initiative of the IAS officer. “For the first time, folk artistes have been roped in to make the voters aware of their rights. The credit also goes to the Election Commission,” said Ratnesh Singh, a resident of Samiyagarh, around 80km east of Patna.
The IAS officer shot into limelight recently when she launched a special drive against the notorious gangsters, who used to harvest crops from diara in the Mokama Tal area at gunpoint.