Yes, you read it right. Ramlila in Ayodhya this year will be performed by a host of theatre artists right from the religion of Islam. The final rehearsals are underway as it will be performed from September 13 to 15 in Lucknow and Ayodhya respectively. For the first time in the history of Ramlila artistes from an Islam major country will be performing Ram Lila.
"All the artistes who will be performing Ramayana are Muslims, and they do not consume any non-vegetarian food," said UP religious affairs and culture minister Laxmi Narayan Chaudhary.
"It is for the first time such a Ramlila is being organised in the state, and that too by foreign artistes, all of whom happen to be Muslims," he said. The artistes will perform in Lucknow on September 13 and in Ayodhya on September 15 respectively.
"The message, which we are trying to disseminate through the staging of Ramlila by Muslim artistes from Indonesia is that despite being a Muslim-dominated country, they do not have any problem with staging of Ram Lila," Chaudhary said.
In Ayodhya, the programme will be held at Swami Vivekanand auditorium of Avadh University. "We want that Ramlila of all the 65 countries, where it is performed, is staged in the Ramnagiri of Ayodhya," said the Vice Chacellor of Avadh University , adding there are 100 versions of the folk drama in India.
Not very long ago, in 2016 the Shiv Sena's Muzaffarnagar unit staged a protest to prevent Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui's performance in the folk play at Budhana tehsil. As a result the highly acclaimed actor had to withdraw from playing in Ramlila.
(With agency inputs)