Only in Kashi: Ramlila and na­maz in a sin­gle frame

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Uttarpradesh - Sud­hir Ku­mar let­ters@htlive.com ▪

VARANASI: In what made a per­fect post­card of the Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb, a group of Mus­lims was seen of­fer­ing na­maz (prayer) at an arm’s length from the spot where Hindu devo­tees were en­act­ing Ramlila.

The show of com­mu­nal har­mony was played out at Laat Bhairava tem­ple premises in Varanasi’s Sar­i­anya area on Fri­day evening. Fa­mous Laat Mosque is also si­t­u­ated on the same premises. It is re­ferred as ‘Laat Bhairava Mandir and Laat Masjid’ premises.

“While devo­tees of­fer­ing na­maz is a rou­tine here, Ramlila is an an­nual af­fair. Though a co­in­ci­dence, it was per­haps for the first time that both the rit­u­als were per­formed si­mul­ta­ne­ously,” claimed Kan­haiya Lal Ya­dav, gen­eral sec­re­tary, Adi Laat Bhairava Ramlila com­mit­tee. The Ramlila was or­gan­ised at this place for the first time by Saint Tul­si­das’s friend Megha Bha­gat around 473 years ago, goes the leg­end.

“Since then, the 22-day Ramlila is or­gan­ised here ev­ery year. While dif­fer­ent scenes from the mythol­ogy are recre­ated and en­acted in dif­fer­ent parts of the area, a few scenes are en­acted at Laat Bhairava tem­ple” said Ya­dav.On Fri­day, the Ramlila was en­acted in one corner of the plat­form whereas na­maz was of­fered here at the other corner,” Ya­dav said. Ac­tors play­ing Ram, Lax­man and Sita recre­ated the scenes of Ra­mayana amid beats of dho­lak, man­jeera and other in­stru­ments.

Imam Ab­dul Man­nan led the na­maz. Post-na­maz, Mus­lims too joined the au­di­ence and watched Ramlila with cu­rios­ity.Ya­dav who has been or­gan­is­ing Ramlila for last 36 years is gen­eral sec­re­tary of the com­mit­tee since 1998.

He said that Ramlila takes place at dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions and goes on for 22 days. Af­ter anoint­ment of Lord Rama, Ramlila re­turns next year. Chil­dren aged around 12 years per­form the open­ing part of the Ramlila while se­nior ac­tors take on the pro­ceed­ings later on.

A large num­ber of lo­cals and many oth­ers from ad­join­ing ar­eas gather daily to watch the show.

HT

▪ Ramlila and na­maz un­der­way at Laat Bhairava tem­ple/mosque premises in Varanasi.

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