The government has decided to popularise the Ramayana and Ramlila abroad through festivals and exhibitions as part of a broader cultural push to invigorate ties across the globe, culture minister Mahesh Sharma said on Wednesday.
The promotional events may be held in China, Mauritius and countries where the Ramayana and Ramlila are already popular, sources say. “The Ramayana and Ramlila are essential ingredients of our heritage and identity. If we showcase their richness to people in other countries, it will enrich their understanding of our country. This in turn will give a fillip to our tourism,” the minister said.
The Centre recently announced a plan to build a Ramayana tourist circuit starting from Ayodhya and develop all sites related to Lord Ram to boost tourism within India and improve cultural ties with Nepal and Sri Lanka. “We have drawn a plan for this and will start next year,” Sharma said.
A batch of 101 miniatures related to Ramayana has already been sent to the National Gallery of Australia to be exhibited till the end of August.
One key component of the diplomatic effort, The Festivals of India, is a combination of dance performances, musical shows and other theme-based exhibitions and will showcase the traditions of Ramlila and Ramkatha (story of Ram) to portray India’s “rich cultural diversity”. Such festivals have been organised in Indonesia, Malaysia, South Africa and China with the latest edition scheduled for Australia in December. The government also has plans to organise these festivals, called Bharat Parv, at the district level.
Sources said the government was also working on ways to collect and preserve types of folklore associated with Ramlila. To propel this, Delhi’s Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is organising a seven-day international conference from November 23 to showcase traditional and contemporary forms of Ramlila and Ramkatha manthan. The IGNCA has also documented a 31-day film on ‘Ramnagar ki Ramlila’ that it plans to send to Doordarshan for screening.