Ramayan artists clean water, mud from Ramlila grounds

“Let the lords to their work”, the municipal corporation of Meerut took the quote way too seriously when the artists dressed up as lord Hanuman, Ram and Laxman had to clear the Ramleela ground themselves. Gymkhana Maidan, the venue for one of the oldest Ramlilas in Meerut, was waterlogged after rains hit the city two days ago.Beacuse of this, Ramlila actors who came all the way from Mathura, have been performing at a small stage inside a dharmashala for the last two days since the main venue is waterlogged.

Despite repeated requests to municipal corporation authorities, the muck here has not been cleared so far. “What Ram Mandir will the BJP government make when they cannot even ensure that a Ramlila can be performed in UP?” said DeependraChaturvedi, who is playing Ram.
Organised by the ShriRamlila Committee of Meerut city, the Ramlila started on September 19. But after rains hit the city,the number of views came down drastically since the alternative venue in a nearby dharamshala can hardly accommodate 50 people.

“I did not come all the way from Mathura to act for such a limited audience. My family sent me thinking that I would play Laxman and will learn to perform in a Ramlila. But here, with the limited crowd inside the dharamshala, I do not enjoy acting and the motive behind the Ramlilawhich is to make the local residents attached with the Hindu gods and let them know about the culture – remains pointless,” said AdityaChaturvedi, who enacts Laxman.

The Ramlilaorganisers say that they had asked Meerut mayor HarikantAhluwalia several times in the past two days to get the venue cleared, but none of their complaints are heard. ManojAgarwal, the Ramlila committee secretary, said, “Had the mayor been a little cooperative, things would have been different. Despite having a proper stage setup in place, the artists have been performing inside a room-like structure inside a dharamshala only because Meerut Municipal Corporation (MMC) is sleeping.
To set things right, Ramlila artists – dressed in their costumes – pitched in to clean the venue themselves here. “On one hand, the the BJP government runs SwachhataAbhiyan and on the other hand, this is the ground reality,” said AbhishekChaturvedi, who is enacting Hanuman.

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