RAIPUR: A three-day mega event—National Ramayan Festival (Mahotsav) — got off to a colourful start with the rousing devotional performances by the participants at Ramleela ground in the cultural city of Raigarh, about 220 km east of Raipur, on Thursday.
CM Bhupesh Baghel inaugurated the Mahotsav at the venue where an extensive pandal across 60,000 sq ft has been erected with a sitting capacity of over 10,000 people amid tight security. The opening ceremony began with a march past by the Ramayana troupes from two countries —Indonesia and Cambodia, where Ramayan is customarily prevalent, besides the 12 states including Chhattisgarh.
“Bhagwan Ram had a long stay of 10 years in Chhattisgarh along the route ‘Ram Van Gaman Path’ during his 14-year exile. Maryada Purushottam Ram remains a “bhancha” (nephew) of the state where he assimilated the local culture and traditions in his personality during interactions with Sabri Mata, sages, tribals and local inhabitants of the state. Many native populace during those days also learnt from him”, claimed Baghel who further added that this is the first time such an event has been organised by any government in the country.
The only temple of Ram’s mother Mata Kaushalya in the country is at Chandkhuri, cited as her birthplace about 30 km from Raipur. The officials cited the Ram’s prolong forest life in Chhattisgarh as the reason to keep a theme on ‘Aranya Kanda’ under which the teams will stage recitals with narrative (bhajan sandhiya), dance, and devotional performances on Ramkatha.
“Every team will be allowed 30 minutes to enact a play based on the theme. It’s a team event and a maximum of 25 persons per group is allowed,” Vivek Acharya, director, department of culture said.
A 3-day mega event organised by the Congress government, is seen consistently in its apparent endeavour not to let the arch-political rival BJP gain an advantage on religious politics in Chhattisgarh, in an election year.
The opposition BJP cited that the religious occasion has been planned keeping in mind the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. In the state budget this year, the CM had announced to allocate `12 crore for organising ‘International Ramayana Festival’ every year.
Cong attempt to outdo BJP on politics of religion
The 3-day mega event organised by the Congress government is a series of effort to not let the arch political rival BJP gain an advantage on religious politics in Chhattisgarh, in an election year. The opposition BJP cited that the religious occasion has been planned keeping in mind the upcoming Assembly polls in the state. It is not certain if any BJP leader will attend the event. The CM had announced to allocate `12 crore for organising ‘International Ramayana Festival’ every year.