The critically acclaimed Bollywood actor, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, who is currently in his own village in Budhana, Uttar Pradesh, was forced to pull out of a Ramleela programme at the village because of the heavy opposition he allegedly faced from the members of the Shiv Sena.
He was getting ready in the green room when local activists stormed in and started to shout. After confronting with them, the actor left the place silently. The organisers had to cancel the programme after the activists approached them and expressed their displeasure over Nawazuddin’s participation.
Later, Nawazuddin shared a video of the rehearsal and tweeted, “My childhood dream could not come true, but will definitely be a part of Ramleela next year. Check the rehearsals.”
Nawazuddin also told a news channel, “there were some technical issues. I got the order that I should not do it as it was important to maintain peace in the village.”
Mr Siddiqui, wanted to play Maarich, the demon whose wish was to die at the hands of Lord Ram, the hero of the epic that is traditionally enacted during the Dussehra festival.
The Logical Indian take
A grim picture is being portrayed here of how fundamentalism is gripping India. There is no other reason but Nawazuddin’s religion for creating such a fuss. Because he is a Muslim, he was not allowed to act in Ramleela.
Such acts and performance tend to break the barriers of religions and unite people together. This is the power of art, culture and performance. In a UP village of Sultanpur, a whole group from Muslim community performs Ramleela. But whatever Shiv Sena members have done, reflects how they are aloof of any cultural values. They are trying to set the rules viewing the world from their constricted mindset.
Ramleela is a piece of artistic performance, played by actors. It should not draw lines between religion. Besides, Bahadur Shah Zafar, the last Mughal emperor in India, who was a Muslim, established the first Ramleela Committee in Delhi that exists till date.
Also, the only Sanskrit song that won a national award sung in the praise of Lord Rama & Sitaji, was written by a Keralite Muslim Yusufali Kechery, composed by the great Naushad, & sung by a Christian Yesudas. Not one Hindu involved!
It would have been really a good example if people and police would have helped Nawazuddin to put up the show. But nobody came for his help. We have let down him as a society. Someone who is organising Ramleela anywhere in the country should invite him to play a part in it, this will be the perfect answer for those who are trying to sow the seeds of hatred in our society.
The goons who prevented him from playing in Ramlila are a disgrace to the very idea of India.