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Delhi: Over 150-Yr-Old Ramlila Will Not Take Place This Year

The order has come just two days before the Ramlila celebration begins.

Artists perform Ramlila through dance drama, narrating the life of Lord Ram, on the first day of Navratri festival, in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

New Delhi: Shri Ramlila Committee, which organizes one of the oldest Ramlila in Delhi at a ground near Ajmeri Gate, will not be staging Ramlila this year, saying that authorities granted permission for the event too late. Though the Delhi Disaster Management Authority has permitted to organize Ramlila at the ground, Shiv Kumar Gupta, the Joint Secretary of the Shri Ramlila Committee said that a temporary COVID-19 care centre is functioning at the ground, due to which the DDMA had given permission to stage the event in a restricted space of 40 metres.

“The order has come just two days before the Ramlila celebration begins. We had not done the preparation and it was also not possible for us to demonstrate Ramlila in a 40-meter restricted area. Therefore, we decided that we will not stage Ramlila this year too,” Gupta told ANI. 55-year-old Shiv Kumar Gupta said that he has been associated with Ramlila since the age of 13. He informed that the history of the Shri Ramlila Committee goes back to the times of Bahadur Shah Zafar who gave permission to stage Ramlila. 

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“This committee has been there since the times of Bahadur Shah Zafar. He gave us permission to stage the Ramlila event”. A procession, known as the ‘Ramlila Sawaari’, used to be a big highlight of the committee. The procession used to start from Chandni Chowk in old Delhi passes through Chawri Bazar, Asaf Ali Road and used to end in Ajmeri gate. 

”Politicians like Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi also used to attend the Ramlila,” he said. Arjun Kumar, the General Secretary of Ramlila Mahasangh also said that the Shri Ramlila Committee has a rich history since the times of Bahadur Shah Zafar”. During times of Bahadur Shah Zafar, this Ramlila used to take place at the banks of River Yamuna and queens used to watch the event from windows of the Red Fort. 

People near the Red Fort and Chandni Chowk helped this Ramlila to get started. A lot of Prime Ministers have seen this Ramlila,” he said. Kumar claimed that the Shri Ramlila Committee is the only Ramlila committee in Delhi that gets free water and electricity from the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. 

Earlier on September 30, the DDMA had permitted Ramlila celebration following certain COVID-19 conditions. As per the DDMA order, permission will have to be taken from the District Magistrate of the area for any program related to the festival. “In an event in a closed area, only 50 per cent of the people will be allowed, while in the open area this number cannot exceed 200,” stated the DDMA.

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