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Friday, 23 November, 2001, 15:17 GMT
Indian magicians fear for future
The street-magicians' craft is under pressure
By Habib Beary in Bangalore

A three-day international magicians' conference has begun in the pilgrimage town of Udupi in the southern Indian State of Karnataka.

Over 600 magicians including representatives from the US, Britain, Canada, Switzerland and Sri Lanka are attending the show.

The youngest participant is seven-year-old Karun Krishna from Bangalore.

The younger lot are not interested in pursuing the art of magic

Organiser Shankar Jr
The driving force behind the meeting is Shankar Jr, who hails from a family of magicians.

He says a series of interactive seminars, competitions and closed-door sessions are being held at the conference.

Shankar told the BBC that street magicians in India have expressed concern that their profession is fading out.

"This is because the younger lot are not interested in pursuing the art of magic."

Shankar says the number of street magicians in India has dwindled over the past decade.

Chand Baba, 85, from Andhra Pradesh state, claims he is India's oldest street magician.

He says he is struggling hard to keep his ancient art alive as people are more interested in watching television than seeing street magic shows.

These magicians are adept at performing the most famous Indian magic, the 'rope trick', in which a boy climbs up on a rope suspended in thin air.

At a private session in the morning on Friday, street magicians swapped notes and worked on new tricks.

People are more interested in watching TV than seeing street magic shows

Magician Chand Baba

One of the highlights of the conference is an exhibition by dealers in various materials used in magic shows.

Also, magician Dean Gunnarson from Canada will perform his famous escape trick.

He will climb 150 feet up a rope, set it on fire and get back down to the ground before the rope breaks.

See also:

10 Nov 00 | Media reports
Taj Mahal disappears under magic spell
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