500+ Words Essay on an Indian Juggler – Ramo Samee
Juggling is the act of manipulating several objects at the same time in a way that seems almost impossible. It is something that we’ve all tried at some point in our lives- we’ve tried juggling balls or sticks, but very few have the skill to do it properly and present themselves well. It is a difficult art, which even mathematicians have spent a lot of time attempting to understand- they have created a general formula that can be used by jugglers, but it still takes a lot of practice to master juggling.
There are several different types of juggling, with the most famous being toss juggling. This is where objects such as small balls are thrown into the air all at once in seemingly different directions, and the juggler continues to catch and throw them. Some professional jugglers use more than just small balls or sticks- they also use knives, flaming torches, or giant clubs.
Jugglers can be seen working in the circus, in theatres, festivals, fairs, street plays, and casinos. Sometimes jugglers can be seen working in events with historical themes, like the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. There are several different styles of juggling that can be performed- circus juggling, comedy juggling, gentleman juggling, and themed juggling.
All these different styles call for different skill levels, different items to be juggled, and different costumes. Some jugglers invite spectators to participate in their tricks, while some prefer some distance between their audience and their craft. Because of this, we can never lump all jugglers into a single box- they come from many different places and perform their art in many different ways.
In this essay, we will be primarily focusing on Ramo Samee, an Indian juggler and magician, who was famous during the 19th Century. Although it was a long time back, learning about jugglers from the past, as well as the history of juggling itself, would give us a clear view of why state of the art is the way we see it today.
Who was Ramo Samee?
Ramo Samee was an Indian juggler and magician in the 19th Century. Not much is known about where exactly in India he was born, or what his real name was. All that we know is that he was a famous Indian juggler at the time who performed in England and formed his own juggling troupe.
In that era, the word ‘juggler’ meant the same thing as ‘magician’; hence he is often referred to as only a magician. Jugglers were also more closely associated with jesters from the Middle Ages- entertainers who worked in the courts of European kings. However, he performed both magic as well as juggling tricks. He is also considered to be the first modern professional juggler in England, and he also performed for some time in the United States.
Ramo Samee was famous because of the originality of his tricks and techniques. He had a very popular trick that he called “stringing beads with the mouth.” In this trick, he would ‘swallow’ a bunch of beads and a string. He would then pull out the beads from his mouth, and they would be attached to the string. Ramo Samee’s other more dangerous tricks included swallowing multiple swords and eating fire, tricks that are still famous to this day, but were new at that time.
Ramo Samee earned a solid reputation and has been mentioned in several works, the most notable being William Hazlitt’s essay “The Indian Jugglers.” In this essay, Hazlitt marvels over Samee’s skills and is in absolute awe of his work. He writes endlessly about how Ramo Samee does what appears to be impossible, and how his juggling tricks are beautiful to watch.
He exclaims that watching a juggler like Ramo Samee made him question his own purpose in life and made him feel like he had no real skills. Hazlitt’s essay gives us enough insight into how good Ramo Samee must have been at his craft.
Some people view Ramo Samee’s success as being related to racism- he may have been perceived as if he were ‘exotic’ and did not fully respect his skills. However, works like that of Hazlitt show us that there were people who genuinely respected his art, and that shows that there are two sides to the story. As for how Ramo Samee learned juggling, it has to do with the history of juggling in India.
Jugglers in India
Juggling in India dates back to historical times, and has been a tradition amongst some families for a very long time. Ramo Samee supposedly came from such a family, but not much is known about him because of a lack of properly recorded history.
Despite this historical connection to the art of juggling, many people still associate jugglers with the circus. The Indian perception of the circus itself is not necessarily that it is artistic, but that it is entertaining. Children go to the circus to gawk at jugglers as they show off their skills while wearing sparkly costumes.
However, they aren’t always able to appreciate the hard work and craftsmanship behind their work. They see it as a form of entertainment rather than an art form, which can be harmful in turn to aspiring jugglers.
Nevertheless, juggling is something that is well appreciated by the general public in India. People love watching toss juggling, especially because it is aesthetically pleasing. It is important that we not only fully enjoy the entertainment that jugglers provide us with, but that we also support them in their endeavours, particularly considering that they aren’t paid very well. It is a known fact that despite being very famous, Ramo Samee was very poor. Because of that, his wife had to put up advertisements so that she could finance his funeral.
Jugglers aren’t limited to simply throwing balls in the air all at once and managing to catch them. They practice with several other items, work hard to constantly improve their art, and have plenty of tricks up their sleeve- sometimes quite literally if they’re doing card or ribbon tricks. Although they struggle to make a living, jugglers portray themselves as free-spirited and happy to do their job – happy to make us laugh and make us stare in wonder at feats that we thought were impossible.