Ramlila 2013: The Indian Folk Theatre
Ramlila in 2013 will be celebrated from the 5th October to the 13th of October (Sharvan Navaratri). Ramlila in literal terms means Lord Rama’s Lila (play or act). Ramlila is a dramatic re-enactment of the life of Lord Rama. The story of the life of Lord Rama is written in the Holy Scripture Ramayana by the Saint Valmiki.
Rama was the 7th incarnation of Lord Vishnu. During the Holy period of Shravan Navratras the Ram Lila is enacted on the stage for 10 consecutive nights or more. Generally the play is staged in such a way that it concludes with Vijaya Dashami celebrations. Vijayadashmi is a festival which celebrates the victory of Lord Rama over the King Ravana. Therefore, this day is also commemorated for the victory of truth and morality over evilness. The final defeat of King Ravana is shown by burning the effigies of Ravana. Ramleela is staged differently in different parts of the country.
Different Ways of Celebrating Ramlila
Uttar Pradesh has developed distinct styles of staging the Ramlila. Among them the most famous one is the Ramnagar Ramlila. Here, the Ramleela is enacted on different venues to suit the situation and make it more realistic. On the other hand the Varanasi Ramlila depicts the different stages of the life of King Rama in moving Jhankis (Tableau). In the Kumaon style Ram Lila, the life of Rama is depicted in musical way.
All the Rama Lila enactments use the couplets from the Ramcharitmanas as dialogues. However, the more urban forms of Ramleela also use dialogues as well as the couplets of Ramcharitmanas. The dialogues are in the local language that is the Khadi Boli to make it sound more real and authentic. Here, it should be noticed that the all the people are well versed with the story of Rama and many of them even remember the dialogues. So, to retain the interest of people, the treatment of the act is highly melodramatic. This is also done to show an impressive and extravagant victory of truth over the evil. This helps in imparting a lesson to people that no matter what at the end conquest of truth and morality is assured.
Significance of Ramlila in India
India is a deeply religious country and is governed by different cultural factors. Therefore, events like Ramlila hold great significance here. People follow Lord Rama and his virtues religiously even today. Lord Rama stood for righteousness, morality and integrity. He is called the Maryada Purushottama (the most virtuous man). The life of Lord Rama is an example for the entire mankind. All the incidents that took place in his life hold very special place in the heart of every devotee.
Ramlila: The Story of Lord Rama
While celebrating Ramlila 2013 we should have a quick peek into the life of Lord Rama. Lord Rama was the eldest among the four sons of King Dashratha. He was sent for a fourteen year exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana. The Ramayana and Ramlila majorly focus on these fourteen years of Rama life. During that exile Lord Rama’s beloved wife Sita was abducted by the demon King Ravana. Ravana took Sita to his evil kingdom Lanka and confined her in the Ashoka Vatika (garden where mother Sita was confined). In her search, Rama came to Lanka after crossing the huge ocean. He fought a fierce battle with Ravana and defeated him to free Sita. The victory of Rama signifies the triumph of goodness and truth over wickedness and dishonesty.
All these incidents and more are depicted in the Ramleela which is staged all over the country in different ways. Every child is well versed with the story of Ram Leela and considers Shri Rama their ultimate champion. Depiction of Ramlila brings life to the story of Lord Rama. Following such culture we can pass on our valuable traditions to the coming generations. Ramlila presents the entire story of Rama in a very interesting and innovative manner. Telling the same story every year successfully is indeed an art that needs to be preserved. The art of Ram Leela is indispensable to our tradition.
We wish all the readers a very happy and prosperous Ramlila 2013. We hope that this article made an informative and interesting reading for all of you.