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Ramayana is signature epic of eastern world: ICCR president

ICCR head Vinay Sahasrabuddhe announces a multi-cultural festival to mark over 25 years of a platform between India and southeast Asia.

india Updated: Jan 18, 2018 22:25 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, New Delhi
Ramayana,eastern world,epic
BJP MP and ICCR head Vinay Sahasrabuddhe.(Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The Ramayana is the signature epic and a shared heritage of the eastern world, ICCR head Vinay Sahasrabuddhe on Thursday said, announcing a multi-cultural festival to mark over 25 years of a platform between India and southeast Asia.

Cultural groups from the 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will present performances based on the epic at the five-day Ramayana Festival to celebrate the India-ASEAN dialogue platform.

The festival, starting on January 20, has been organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

It will be held in the national Capital and five other cities, including Ayodhya. Some of the performances will be staged in Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Kolkata.

“Ramayana is a joint heritage of the eastern world in a way. This is the signature epic of this part of the world and its influence is not confined to India boundaries,” ICCR president Sahasrabuddhe told reporters here.

Emphasising that India had strong civilisational links with all ASEAN countries, he said performances based on the Ramayana would reflect cultural links between the country and the region.

The festival seeks to underline the common cultural heritage and India’s friendship with ASEAN nations, he said.

“Ramayana as it is performed in these nations is not only a reflection of the strong cultural and civilisational links we have with them but is also a bond which is their common heritage and binds them to each other,” he added.

Sharing details about the festival, ICCR DG Riva Ganguly Das said the groups from ASEAN countries would “distill various episodes of the Rama story, through a harvest of sights and sounds, of nuanced interpretations and revelations”.

The groups would showcase at the festival regional adaptations of the Ramayana -- known as the Ramakien in Thailand, Phra Lak Phra Ram in Laos, Yama Zatdaw in Myanmar, Kakawin Ramayana in Indonesia and Hikayat Seri Rama in Malaysia.

Replying to a question, Das said the festival had been organised here earlier and also in Ayodhya.

India and the ASEAN nations will hold a summit here next week on bolstering cooperation.

This is the 26th year of the India-ASEAN dialogue. On January 28, 1992, a decision to establish a Sectoral Dialogue Partnership between ASEAN and India was taken at the 4th ASEAN Summit in Singapore.

All ten heads of ASEAN countries attending the summit will together be the guests of honour at the Republic Day Parade in New Delhi on January 26.

ASEAN include Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia. The other members are Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

First Published: Jan 18, 2018 22:25 IST