Only in Kashi: Ramlila and namaz in a single frame
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.
▪ Ramlila and namaz underway at Laat Bhairava temple/mosque premises in Varanasi.