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Event on Lord Ram to be part of Taj Mahotsav, opposition sees ‘saffronisation’  

The decision of the organising committee of Taj Mahotsav to stage a dance drama on Lord Ram on the inaugural day of the 10-day cultural event on February 18 has raised the hackles of opposition Samajwadi Party, which saw in it an attempt to “saffronise” the event.

lucknow Updated: Feb 06, 2018 13:23 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hemendra Chaturvedi
Hindustan Times, Agra
Taj Mahotsav,Saffronisation,Samajwadi Party
File photo of Taj mahotsav.(HT)

The decision of the organising committee of Taj Mahotsav to stage a dance drama on Lord Ram on the inaugural day of the 10-day cultural event on February 18 has raised the hackles of opposition Samajwadi Party, which saw in it an attempt to “saffronise” the event.

While the organising committee and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said there was no harm in organising the programme, the Samajwadi Party alleged that the government was trying to “saffronise” the event.

Taj Mahotsav was started by the state tourism department in 1992 to promote tourism, art, craft and culture and attract foreign tourists visiting Agra. The 10-day cultural event will conclude on February 27.

Sudhir Narain, a member of the organising committee, confirmed that a dance drama on Sri Ram would be staged by the artistes of Sri Ram Kala Kendra, New Delhi, on the inaugural day of the Mahotsav.

“The event will begin with a theme song on ‘dharohar’ (heritage) by a musical group and will be followed by dance drama on ‘Sri Ram’. Braj folk music including ‘Raas of Krishna’ Churukula and Mayur (peacock) dance performances will also be staged,” he said.

Denying the allegations of “saffronization of Taj Mahotsav”, he said: “This is not the first time that such a play on Lord Ram is being presented. A couple of years ago, ‘Ram ki Shakti Puja’, penned by poet Surya Kant Tripathi ‘Nirala’, was a part of Taj Mahotsav.”

“The itinerary of Taj Mahotsav includes qawwali, mushaira and three-day programme ‘Incredible India’ at Gyarra Siddi which will conclude with a fashion show which will be in two parts – one on Braj culture and the other on Mughal theme,” he said.

Former city unit president of the Samajwadi Party Raisuddin alleged that the BJP was in the habit of using such tactics to divert the attention of the people from important issues.

“Taj Mahotsav aims at promoting Taj Mahal which has the shared heritage of different communities and stands for ‘Ganga-jamuni tehzeeb’. Inclusion of religious sentiments in a cultural programme should be avoided,” Raisuddin said.

“BJP should focus on development of tourism in Agra. It should learn from former chief minister Akhilesh Yadav who developed localities around Taj Mahal through Taj Heritage project,” he said.

BJP’s city unit president Vijay Shivhare said, “We live in India and have ‘sanatan’ traditions where many of us begin our day with the name of Lord Ram. What is the harm in taking the name of Ram and organising a programme in his name? ‘Hey Ram’ were the last words of Mahatma Gandhi too.”

GUV, CM EXTENDED INVITATION

Uttar Pradesh tourism department which is organising the event has already extended invitation to governor Ram Naik and chief minister Yogi Adityanath for the inaugural function at Shilpgram, located one kilometre east of Taj Mahal.

The offices of the governor and the chief minister have not yet given confirmation about their presence.

First Published: Feb 06, 2018 13:23 IST