India is a land of multiple festivals. The months of October and November is specifically dotted with major festivals. Festivities start with Durga puja/ Vijayadashami, Dusshera and end with Deepawali.
Most festivals are celebrated to mark the victory of good over evil. The month of October and November further suit the festivities. The Kharif crop having been harvested and the weather also pleasant. The time, money and good weather support the mood for celebrations.
Ramlila tells the mythological story of Lord Rama’s life journey and the victory over the Ravana. It commences about 10 to 14 days before the Dusshera (The day, as per mythology Lord Rama killed Ravana).
I remember going in the evenings with my siblings and granny to watch Ramlila. We would carry jute rugs and spread them on the ground and made ourselves comfortable. Between1987- 88, the mega serial Ramayana kept the entire nation glued to their TV sets for one hour every Sunday. That is the power of Ramlila.
Ramlila is not just about victory of good over evil. It also teaches that every human has the same start point but it is the journey he/she decides to take on which the outcome of life depends. It is not the resources in hand but the education, skill and the will which matters more in the success or failure.
Ramlila culminates with the burning of effigies of Ravana. Every town or village big or small had a ground earmarked as Dusshera, Ramlila ground to facilitate the celebrations. In present times the grounds have either vanished or reduced in size due to population growth. The open ground and the green cover around helped in reducing the pollution due to burning effigy/ firecrackers.
As per hindu mythology Dusshera is celebrated after nine days worshipping (Navratri) of Goddess Durga because Lord Rama worshipped Durga before starting on his journey to battle Ravana.
Deepawali, festival of lights, follows 20 days after Dusshera. It happens to be the darkest new moon night. As per belief, Lord Rama reached back his kingdom Ayodhya on this day after killing Ravana. People expressed their joy by lighting earthen lamps and bursting crackers.
The month of October is full of festivals and celebrations in India. The pandemic imposed a temporary restriction on the festive spirit of Indians last year. There were rightly no large-scale celebrations. This year again the fear of COVID is there. However, restrictions are not as much as last year. Hopefully people will behave in a disciplined manner and not allow a third pandemic wave to hit the nation.
India is a land of festivals and festivities. Festivals are not just an occasion to celebrate our mythology but also reflect the unity in our diversity.