The Luv Kush Ramlila Committee, one of the oldest organisers of Ramlila in Delhi, has reportedly engaged members of Parliament and Councillors to play mythological characters in the theatrical enactment of Ramayana this year. While MoS for Social Justice and Empowerment Vijay Sampla is expected to play the role of Nishadraj, Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari will portray Angad.
In a break with tradition, politicians will share stage with film and televisions actors in Ramlila at Red Fort this year.
One of the oldest Ramlila organisers in the Walled City — Luv Kush Ramlila Committee (LKRC) —has engaged members of Parliament and councillors to play mythological characters in the theatrical enactment of Ramayana.
Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Vijay Sampla, who is an MP from Hoshiyarpur in Punjab, will portray Nishad Raj. The Bhojpuri actor-turned-politician and Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari will play the role of Angad and Shobha Vijender, BJP leader Vijender Gupta’s wife and a councillor from Rohini central ward, will be seen as Ahilya.
“The organiser approached me with their offer, which I accepted. This is the first time; I am participating in any Ramlila. It is a small role therefore does not require rigorous rehearsal. I am looking forward to my performance,” Sampla told Hindustan Times.
Shobha said with her participation, she wants to convey a message that Ramlila is our cultural heritage and we must preserve it. “Until people from different sections of the society do not come forward, we cannot send the true message of Lord Ram to masses. It was also necessary to bust the myth that Ramlilas only belong to commoners or poor people. I took it as a challenge. As I had been doing theatre during college days, it was not that difficult for me,” she said.
North Delhi mayor Preeti Agarwal and her counterpart in east Delhi Neema Bhagat are also likely to play important characters at LKRC’s event, which is starting from September 21.
LKRC, one of the four big Ramlila organisers in old Delhi, was started in 1988. It soon gained popularity after Bollywood actors and celebrities were invited for the play. Since 2015, films and TV artistes have been acting in LKRC’s Ramlila.
Ramlilas began in Delhi around 350 years ago, when Mughal king Shahjahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi and built Shahjahanabad — today known as Old Delhi.
It is believed that last Mughal emperor would fund the celebration, which used to take place at the bank of Yamuna behind Lal Quila. The venue was later shifted to Ramlila Maidan. The event was attended by the British Viceroys and post-independence, Prime Ministers, Presidents, and other dignitaries have been watching the Ramlilas in old Delhi.
“Our motto is that people from every walk of life should contribute to the cause. Their involvement may be in three forms — tann (body), mann (soul / heart), and dhan (wealth). We wanted to take it to the next level so we invited politicians. Participation in Ramlila, which is another form of worship, is contribution through body and soul,” said Ashok Agarwal, president of LKRC.