In the nearly 225-year history of Ramlila celebrations in Delhi, the national capital will mark the auspicious occasion of Dussehra on Friday for the first time with ‘virtual Dussehra celebrations. This will include the unique digital or electronic fireworks, in light of the country’s current coronavirus pandemic. Residents of Delhi will be able to watch the Dussehra night celebrations from the comfort of their own homes. Moreover, the electronic fireworks on their television screens.
Due to the Covid-19 issue and pollution worries, Ramlila committees in Delhi have restricted the size of these folklore re-enactment effigies. Firecrackers, that are usually set off together with the burning effigies, will not be in use this year. Instead, the committees will hold virtual firecracker celebrations on digital screens, complete with the sound of exploding fireworks.
The length of the effigies are lower this time. From 50 feet to 30 feet, according to Ashok Agrawal, the chairperson of the Lav Kush Ramlila Committee. The effigies used to be up to 110 feet tall before the pandemic. The scale is lower, however, following guidelines for hosting the Ramlila celebrations this year.
Moreover, for the first time in history, the audience will witness “digital fireworks and a virtual dussehra.”
Instead of genuine firecrackers, a recorded soundtrack will be used, and the virtual celebrations will be broadcast on television.
The Shri Navyuvak Ramlila Committee has decreased the height of the effigies at Kashmere Gate from 50 feet to 15 feet this time. “We received authorization for the event rather late, but we were able to make plans to keep the tradition alive. We’ll paste posters portraying Covid, dengue, and chikungunya on the effigies of Ravana, Kumbhkaran, and Meghnat. Moreover, we will pray that these diseases never return.” -said Avtar Singh, a former mayor and general secretary of Shri Navyuvak Ramlila Committee.
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Some organisers had to make significant concessions. Sri Ramlila Committee of Indraprastha did not receive clearance for its original site. Now, the event is at Ipex Bhawan on ITO in a place that can only accommodate 200 people due to social distancing.
“We shall have a digital Ravana Dahan,” said Promod Aggarwal, the organization’s treasurer. We’ve installed two massive LED screens inside and outside the venue for people’s convenience. There will also be sound effects so that the general public on the stretch can join in the celebrations.”
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