Numaish gets bigger each day

Numaish gets bigger each day

Numaish gets bigger each day. What’s Numaish without ‘Maut ka Kuan’ (Valley of Death)? This daredevil stunt has been attracting crowds over the...

Valley of Death, a daredevil act, is one of the main attractions

An exhibition of daredevilry

What’s Numaish without ‘Maut ka Kuan’ (Valley of Death)? This daredevil stunt has been attracting crowds over the decades and in this edition, it is no different. People thronged to see the stunts the artistes performed while driving in a car and two bikes on the walls of a wooden well.

The ‘Valley of Death’ has always been a huge hit amongst the crowd at Numaish. It’s popularly known as ‘Maut Ka Kuan’ as the people involved in the act put their life on the line every time they perform the daredevil stunts. The performers entertain people and support their family through their spine chilling act.

The artistes perform using motor bikes and cars in an arena which is shaped like a bowl. The diameter of the arena is 65 feet and is about 27 feet in height. The walls are made of wooden planks. 4 Maruti 800 cars and 5 motorcycles are used to perform the stunts. The artistes do not use safety gear as it would add weight to their body. Even using a helmet would hinder coordination while performing the stunts.

Speed and balance is the key to pull off this stunt. All the vehicles have to maintain a speed of 50km per hour for a synchronised act. The biggest drawback of this feat is that there is no room for error.

The performers at the Numaish this time around hail from Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand. There are 9 artistes in all. They earn around 10,000-15,000 per month. The show lasts about 7 to 10 minutes but for those few moments, the audience remains awe-struck.

When asked if they are nervous during the event, Afroz Alam, one of the performers, said, “I have been staging these stunts for the past 12 years. I learnt this from my uncle. The only time I feared was when I used to practice initially. Now it’s just another performance and it’s a cake walk now. We do have to be careful though.”

For a few of these artistes, it’s a family business. For the others, the passion for doing something extraordinary pulled them into the trade.

“The Valley of Death was once held in our village. I was so attracted to it that I planned to learn it. Though this would not be my full time career but for the moment, I am enjoying it,” said Musharraf Ansari, a performer.

The artistes do not want to move out of this business as they have been into it since their childhood. However, they do not want their children to take it up. They want them to get formal education and find a secured job. Most of the performers feel that they are lucky to have perfected the act and lucky to have survived each and every time they perform the act.

“I would leave this profession before I get married. I will continue this, till my body is fit and fine. I do not want my family to worry about me every time. Right now I love it, but will seek a change in livelihood later,” signs off Mohd Irfan, one of the youngest artistes in the group.

With inputs from Navin Pivhal

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