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Rama, Ravana's war cries on your mobile

Delhi's Ramlilas go high-tech; security beefed-up in view of recent High Court blast

It's the season of triumph of good over evil. Dussehra and Durga Puja are round the corner. The all-time famous Ramlilas of the Capital will start rolling out from September 28. The Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee, which organises its show at the Red Fort grounds, has plans of high-tech programmes this year. While last year they introduced Lord Rama on Facebook and Twitter, this time they are going global with a live telecast of the Ramlila on their personal website. Also, the committee has engaged with a mobile company, so that people can listen to the dialogues of their favourite characters.      


A file photo of a Ramlila in progress. Pic/Imtiyaz Khan

Security issues
"This year there are too many security hassles due to the recent High Court blast. Yet, we have decided to go high-tech and make our Ramlila available the world over. Through the new mobile service we have associated with, people will get a number where they can call and listen to the dialogues between 8-11 pm. We are also launching the direct telecast of the 10-day show on our website, www.navshridharmik.com," said Rahul Sharma, organiser, Nav Shri Dharmik Lila Committee.


Work in progress: Workers preparing the grounds for the Nav Shri
Dharmik Lila Committee's Ramlila, which will begin on September 28,
near Red Fort.


With recent incidents such as the blast and the anti-corruption movement led by Anna Hazare, the flavour of this season's Ramlilas is going to be different. The biggest Ramlila committees of the city are working hard amid the high security arrangements to reach out to their audience. Delhi police has issued stringent guidelines to the committees, keeping in mind the terror threat in the Capital. The organisers are now having a tough time securing permission for various preparations, including rides, food stalls, vehicle parking, and timings.

Sharma told MiD DAY that the security beef-up has made it a little difficult to hold the show on a grand level. As of now, the police have allowed them to fix rides only for a day and wind up everything by 10 pm daily.

Bigger is better
Meanwhile, one of the NCR's prominent Ramlila organisers, Sri Ramlila Samiti, Trans-Hindon, Ghaziabad, has also gone bigger. This year, they have increased the seating space by almost double. The capacity of the ground has gone by about 4,000 seats and in a bid to woo the public, they have also decided to put up a maut ka kuan (well of death). Besides, keeping up with the security measures, they will deploy 250 guards, 100 more than last year. CCTV surveillance has also been increased from 12 to 24 cameras.  K Hasan, organiser and president, said, "Our theme for this year is national integration. For the first time, keeping in mind the foreign tourists who are interested in cultural events like these, we have introduced Chinese and Continental cuisines, apart from the conventional Indian."

Delhi police have asked all organisers to install CCTV cameras at various venues. "They should have proper parking arrangements and each vehicle should be parked after being checked by security personnel. Ramlila can be staged up to 10 pm only," said Delhi police spokesperson Rajan Bhagat.

Everybody's watching
Ramlila has received considerable global attention, especially due to its diverse representation throughout the globe, especially amongst the Indian diaspora community, and regions where Hinduism has spread over the centuries, like Africa and several South East Asian countries.


The eternal battle: Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Meghnath being burnt 
during Dussehra celebrations of Dharmik Lila Committee, at Red Fort in
New Delhi. file PIC


UNESCO proclaimed the tradition of Ramlila a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2005. Subsequently, Govt. of India and IGNCA produced a two hour documentary, titled "Ramlila - The traditional performance of Ramayana" for UNESCO, on 'Ramnagar Ramlila', and Ramlila traditions of Avadh, Braj and Madhubani, and that of Ayodhya, which assimilates elements of all three.

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