The oldest Ramlila of the world came to a halt when all of the four main actors playing roles of Ram, Laxman, Shatrughan and Bharat, became victims of diarrhoea. The 31-day long Ramlila, that takes place in Ramnagar, Varanasi every year had to be postponed for a day due to the absence of the four main characters.
According to The Times of India, an episode of Phulwari was not performed after the actors were detected of diarrhoea where they were residing in a Dharmashala. It was performed the next day with a further delay of three hours.
'Water caused the infection'
Speaking exclusively to The Logical Indian, V.B.Singh, the chief medical officer said, "In a recent survey of the Malahi Tola ward area, we found that the supplied water was contaminated due to leakage in the pipeline that was responsible for the infection."
While speaking to Times of India, Dr.Piyush Rai, who is leading the team in the area, said that a total of 31 patients from Malahi Tola Ward had to be taken to the hospital for diarrhoea issues.
In an exclusive interview with the Rekha Sharma, Chairperson of Ramnagar Palika Parishad, defended all allegations, said, "People have alleged that it the fault of the municipality which is not true. The water from our pump goes to a long stretch gutter which is perfectly maintained."
She also added, "No one is actually aware of the situation inside the dharamshala where these actors are staying. As per the information provided to us, it is actually the conditions of the dharamshala that is to be blamed. We have been doing our work. We have asked the committee to shift the accommodation and now they have agreed to do so."
While speaking to the Times of India, Ramnagar Ramlila in-charge, Manoj Srivastava, who was so disappointed about the incident, said, "In 235 years of this Ramlila, not a single episode was postponed. But, this time all four actors playing the main characters were hit by diarrhoea outbreak."
What makes Ramnagar Ramlila so special?
Ramlila is a traditional dramatic folk re-enactment of entire Ramayana. Ramnagar has witnessed it for the last 235 years now. According to an Express Travel World article, the fact that it has been performed for more than 200 years now makes it world's oldest Ramlila.
According to a report by Navbharat Times, in 2005, UNESCO recognised Ramnagar Ramlila as an intangible cultural heritage. The Ramlila takes place for 31 days which starts on Anant Chaturdarshi is enacted under the sky with no use of microphones and speakers, according to a news service division of All India Radio. For the entire month's time, the locations keep changing.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Rekha Sharma said, "The government allocates 5 lakh rupees every year for Ramnagar Ramlila." The month-long play keeps the entire surrounding humming in the tone of Ramayana.
The Logical Indian Take
India is known for its traditions and legacies. Ramnagar Ramlila is one such legacy that stands out our country in the world. But Incidents like these somehow deteriorate the value that took thousands of years to build.
Ramlila is a very sacred depiction of the Indian mythology, Ramayana and thus is extremely close to the entire nation's sentiments. Ramnagar Ramlila in itself is a festival for the localities where the entire city tunes to watch Ramayana every year. Such a break in a 235-year tradition is a setback to not only the people residing in the city but also for the nation at large.