In a first, Delhi to mark ‘virtual’ Dussehra today with electronic fireworks

Dussehra 2021: Ramlila committees in Delhi have reduced the size of these folklore re-enactments effigies this year due to the Covid-19 situation and concerns regarding pollution.
Dussehra 2021: The Ramlila is a cycle of plays that recounts the epic story of Lord Rama, particularly relating to the dramatic plays and dance events staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri. (File Photo)
Dussehra 2021: The Ramlila is a cycle of plays that recounts the epic story of Lord Rama, particularly relating to the dramatic plays and dance events staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri. (File Photo)
Updated on Oct 15, 2021 09:29 AM IST
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Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

In the nearly 225-year-old history of Ramlila celebrations in Delhi, the national capital will for the first time around mark the auspicious occasion of Dussehra on Friday with ‘virtual’ celebrations, which will include the unique digital or electronic fireworks, in view of the prevailing coronavirus pandemic in the country. Residents of Delhi will be able to watch the Dussehra night festivities—when the giant effigies of the mythological demon king Ravana are burnt—from the comfort of their homes and view the electronic fireworks on their television screens.

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According to a report by HT's sister publication Live Hindustan, Ramlila committees in Delhi have reduced the size of these folklore re-enactments effigies this year due to the Covid-19 situation and concerns regarding pollution. For much of the same reason, firecrackers, which are typically burst along with the burning effigies, will not be used this time either. The committees will instead opt for virtual firecracker celebrations on digital screens, accompanied by the sound of the bursting crackers. In some places, the effigies will also be burnt virtually, according to the report.

Ramlila at Red Fort: Size of effigies reduced

Ashok Agrawal, the chairperson of the Lav Kush Ramlila Committee—one of the oldest in Delhi that has been organising Ramlila at the Red Fort—said that due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation and concerns over pollution, the length of the effigies has been reduced to 30 feet this time around. Before the pandemic, the effigies used to be up to 110 feet tall. However, in line with instructions on staging the Ramlila celebrations this year, the size was reduced. Agrawal added that firecrackers will also not be used during the burning of Ravana's effigy and said the audience will get to see ‘digital fireworks’ for the first time in history. A recorded soundscape will be used for this purpose instead of actual firecrackers; the virtual celebrations will be shown on screen for all.

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Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal to attend celebrations

The chairperson of the Lav Kush Ramlila Committee said that Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal will be the guest of honour at the Dussehra function this year, too. This is the third time that Kejriwal will be attending the Ramlila celebrations at the Red Fort, according to reports.

The Ramlila is a cycle of plays that recounts the epic story of Lord Rama, particularly relating to the dramatic plays and dance events staged during the annual autumn festival of Navratri. The Ramlila festivities were declared by Unesco as one of the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" in 2008.

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