Commonwealth Games damper for Ramlila, Durga Puja

Posted on August 8, 2010


New Delhi, July 21 : The Commonwealth Games in the city may prove a dampener for Ramlila and Durga Puja celebrations during the festive period in October.

After asking schools and markets to shut down during the Oct 3-14 Games, Delhi Police now have Ramlila celebrations and Durga Puja on the radar.

“We are asking that the fairs associated with the Ramlilas be rescheduled. The fairs have no religious relevance and could be organised three or four days later,” Delhi Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal told reporters at the Police Headquarters.

The Commonwealth Games in Delhi would coincide with the annual Ramlila fairs organised throughout the capital from October 7.

Needless to say, organisers of the religious-cum-community events are fuming.

“How can the commissioner say the fairs associated with these events are irrelevant? The fairs are what draw the people to them,” said Subhash Goyal who organises Chandni Chowk’s popular Luv-Kush Ramlila.

Goyal argued that the fairs transform the religious nature of the event to that of a community festival.

“It is the fairs that draw the crowd, especially children, to the Ramlila. Children might not be interested in reading the Ramayana, but once they get drawn to the Ramlila by the rides or the good food they are automatically drawn to watch the larger-thanlife enactment of the epic on stage, irrespective of their religion,” Goyal said.

Commissioner Dadwal, however, was of the opinion that the Games were of much more importance to the city.

“We are having an event of national importance and people are more worried about holding `melas’ (fairs),” he said.

The organisers said that the Games were important in their own right but incomparable to traditional celebrations that had their origins in history.

“The Games have their origin in the British Empire -which is new when compared with the history of our religion,” said Goyal.

Dheeraj Bansidhar, who organises the Dharmik Ramlila at the parade grounds, said: “We are yet to receive any intimation from the Delhi Police. How and why will they stop us from organising our Ramlila? We shall discuss the matter with Commissioner Dadwal himself.”

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