High zeal for Ram Leela | punjab | Hindustan Times
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High zeal for Ram Leela

It is generally opined that 'Ram Leela' is mainly organised in cities and towns and not in villages but Khasa, a village close to the Attari border has been hosting 'Ram Leela' since 1975 with sheer zeal and enthusiasm. It is one of the few villages of Punjab that made a tradition to organise it.

punjab Updated: Oct 08, 2013 20:09 IST
Rameshinder Singh Sandhu

It is generally opined that 'Ram Leela' is mainly organised in cities and towns and not in villages but Khasa, a village close to the Attari border has been hosting 'Ram Leela' since 1975 with sheer zeal and enthusiasm. It is one of the few villages of Punjab that made a tradition to organise it.

The villagers wait throughout the year for the Ram Leela days and finally when the awaited days arrive, they make it a 'must' to wrap up all kind of work as soon as possible so that they reach at least thirty minutes before the show starts in order to get the right place to sit and at the same time do not miss any scene. Within minutes, spectators gather in large numbers which also includes many from neighbouring villages. The best thing about spectators is that they are from all age groups from little children to the aged individuals.

Now, same is the scenario here as the 'Youth Ram Leela Club' of the village has initiated with this event from October 3 and will culminate on Dussehra, October 13. The age of participants is between 8 to 60 years who are not only from different religions but also from different states as this particular village has many migrants who are employed at Khasa Distillery that opened its doors in 1898. For rehearsals, they devote at least 45 days by giving a backseat to their prime jobs and other responsibilities to concentrate completely on their practice to give their best.

Running it is not easy job at all for the club as it requires finance on a higher note and many other efforts including arranging authentic costumes, make up and so on. "We generate funds from our very own pocket and request for donations door to door in the village. We are pleased that everyone happily contributes that helps us to run the eleven day event each year", says Balbir Singh, a 25 year old deputy club director who is associated with the club since last ten years and plays the role of 'Lakshman' which he terms an ardous one.

For costumes, the participants grab their dresses from Guru Bazar in Amritsar and for the same 50 year old, Ashok Aneja takes the sheer responsibility. He is director of the club and is associated with it since childhood who has performed different roles since then.

From the last ten years, he plays the role of 'Hanuman' and since then his son, Deepak Aneja who is now 18 is also an active participant who plays the role of 'Angad'. He is a student at the village school and ensures to take time for practice other than managing his homework. "I got motivated to be a part of it as I regular came to see my father acting in it", says Deepak.

60 year old, Jaswant Singh, who own a small floor mill is part of the Ramleela club since 1975 who has been performing the role of 'Sagreeb' but from the last five years turned anchor of Ram Leela shows who narrates different scenes in his easy language. "I feel proud of my village and the villagers who promote 'Ram Leela' with keen interest and I can never think of leaving it till my last breath", says Jaswant Singh. "The 'Ram Leela' here unites not only different villagers from different religions but also migrants from other states of the country who are also active participants", he adds with a smile.

"Hosting 'Ram Leela' is very important as it takes us back to our rich and holy history and at the same time gives many inspiring lessons", says Balbir, the deputy director of the club. "All participants feel blessed to be part of Ram Leela here and at the same time often say that it is a special experience to be a part of a cosmopolitan team that too in a village", he adds.