Lucknow Ramlila set to break 300-year-old tradition on effigies | Lucknow News – Times of India


LUCKNOW: It will be curtains on a historic tradition at the centuries-old Aishbagh Ramlila in Lucknow this year. The Ramlila committee has decided to discontinue the 300-year-old practice of burning effigies of Kumbhkaran and Meghnad along with that of Ravan this Dussehra.
The reason, said organisers, is that all Ramayana texts mention that Kumbhkaran and Meghnad had tried to dissuade Ravan from fighting against Lord Ram, though eventually they too participated in the war when the demon king rejected their advice.
The idea was first mooted by the Aishbagh Dussehra and Ramlila Committee president Harishchandra Agrawal and secretary Aditya Dwivedi five years ago, but it was rejected by other members on the grounds that burning effigies of the trio was part of a 300-year-old tradition.
“A thorough reading of Ramcharitmanas and other versions of the Ramayana reveals that Ravan’s son Meghnad had told him that Lord Ram was the incarnation of Vishnu and they should not wage war against him. Ravan’s brother Kumbhkaran, on the other hand, told him that Sita, whom the Lanka king had kidnapped, was none other than Jagdamba and if he doesn’t free her, he might end up losing everything, including his life. However, Ravan ignored their suggestions and ordered them to fight. This is why, we thought, burning effigies of Meghnad and Kumbhkaran is wrong,” said Dwivedi.
“After lot of debate, we were able to convince all members this year that the tradition needs to be discontinued and there was unanimity on the decision,” said Agrawal.
Ramlila and Dussehra celebrations are believed to have been started at Aishbagh by sage-poet Goswami Tulsidas in the 16th century. The tradition to burn effigies was introduced about three centuries ago. Both the traditions were conducted by seers till the 1857 first war of independence. The nawabs of Lucknow also used to visit the Ramlila. After the uprising, the celebrations were carried forward by social workers.

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