Ramlila celebrations in Delhi will be low key this year in the wake of the pandemic, adopting SOPs for Covid-appropriate behaviour
Nevertheless, many organisers seemed overjoyed at the DDMA permit, allowing to have physical celebrations after the festivities were organised virtually last year.
The Lav Kush Ramlila Committee that organises Ramlila at Red Fort every year, will have the COVID-19 protocols in place for the next 10 days, from October 6 to 16.
We will follow all the DDMA guidelines during the celebrations. Social distancing will be maintained with chairs placed five feet away from each other. Banners of no mask, no entry’ will be put up at the venue, and sanitisation will be mandatory, said Arjun Kumar, Secretary of the committee that organised the Ram Lila virtually last year. He added that the maidan will be cleaned every day with help from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to ensure cleanliness and hygiene.
Ramlila is a theatrical reenactment of Hindu God Rama’s life, capturing his journey along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman, as he is exiled from his own kingdom, his fight and eventual victory over demon king Ravana that is retold every year around this time to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, culminating on Dussehra.
The Shri Dharmik Leela Committee that too stages the Ram Lila performances at the Red Fort every year since 1924, has shrunk its 10-day programme to a single day celebration at the ISKCON temple in the East of Kailash.
The Lal Quila Maidan made sense when we had a footfall of over five lakh people over 10 days when it was like a mela’ with not just the performances, but also food stalls, swings and rides for the children.
This year, we will pack the performance that used to happen over 10 days, into a single day’s worth of celebrations, said Ravi Jain, Press Secretary of the committee. With the DDMA’s nod for physical Ramlila celebrations coming on September 30, less than a week before the festival begins on October 6, the Shri Ram Lila Committee, that hosts the festivities at the Ramlila Maidan in Ajmeri Gate, has decided to skip the event this year.
They can give us permission two days before and expect us to organise an event like this. You need time, money, and the requisite infrastructure to enable the organisers to put together such a grand event.
We start our preparations at least one month in advance, but this year the conditions are such that we are doing nothing, said Rajesh Khanna, Secretary General of the committee.
(Cover: Getty images)