By Bharat kumar
Juggle of a joker, stunts of a gymnast, animals in the rings, magic and what not. The world of circus
mesmerises everyone. But Alkas Ali Khan took his love of circus to be his life. Despite being a dwarf, he stood tall against all odds and decided to work on his own.Today he is the stellar performer of Rolex Circus. Alkas Ali aka ‘Dedhfut Dada’ joined circus 55 years ago. Reminiscing his early life he shared, “My mentorconvinced my mother by saying that he will take care of me as his own son and he kept his promise. My family
has 500 Bighas of land. They would have fed me for whole of my life. But here I earn for myself.”
For many artists circus is the only profession which pays them for what they love doing. Sharing his experience in circus he said, “Circus has changed dramatically. During my childhood, a circus was a grand spectacle that paraded wild animals tamed by the whip of the ringmaster.” Probably the ban on animals was a blessing in disguise. The focus of the circus then inevitably shifted to the exhibition of incredible human feats. Let it be the well of death, the drunken clown, the magician, or the fire-eater. Even today, people continue to applaud the same featswith the same child-like excitement and innocent joy. “Human beings haven’t changed at heart” he said “Westill laugh at the same things, cry at the same things,and of course worry about the same things”. Alkas, a father of three, has his family in Nandigram. Of course he didn’t want his children to perform in circus. The cult of television and Internet has immensely affected the popularity of circus. He says, “It works both ways. Even we have learnt many tricks from the internet.
But yes, people have less time now. They prefer watching these feats on internet.” Just like the animals that once used to grace these circuses, the circus too has become an endangered species. The manager of Rolex Circus A.W. Khan believes that Jokers are ‘The Aces’ of a circus. Unlike the Joker of cards game, they succeed every time.
Clowns perform some of the most creative and intelligent acts of the circus. In his words, “People laugh
at them, pity for them; some of them even get scared. But they are a package of entertainment which delights