Kaushambi: Muslims welcome Ram Dal performers and priests

When a traditional procession passed through a Muslim neighbourhood, residents offered participants refreshments

Ram dalImage courtesy: Times of India

In yet another example of India’s syncretic culture and communal tolerance, Muslims of Kaushambi enthusiastically greeted Ram Dal procession performers during Dussera this year.

Ram Dal is a traditional procession that travels through different neighbourhoods as performers dressed as Hindu deities participate in a travelling play. Thirteen episodes of the Ram Leela are staged in different locations on different days.

Episodes like Lanka Dahan and Kuppi Yuddh (the final battle between Lord Ram and Ravan) are fan favourites, though unlike elsewhere where Ravan effigies are burnt on Dussera, in Kaushambi, the ritual is carried out on Ekadashi, or a day later.

The Ram Dal procession is part of a 200-year-old tradition that is still popular in the region and has over time become a symbol of communal harmony in Kaushambi. According to a report in Times of India, when a Ram Dal passed through the streets of Syed Wada (Dara Nagar), a Muslim neighbourhood, residents displayed Ganga Jamuni Tehzeeb, and welcomed them with fruit and snacks.

Adya Prasad Pandey, president of Dara Nagar Milla Committee, told the publication, “It’s an old-age tradition when people of Muslim community welcome the Ram Dal procession.” He also told the publication that the Dara Nagar Ram Leela was unique as all parts were played by children under 13 years of age. “Women also watch one of the Ram Leela episodes as all 13 episodes of the Dara Nagar Ram Leela are organized during day time,” he added.

When the Ram Dal procession with children dressed as Lord Ram, his brother Laxman and wife Sita arrived at Dara Nagar, Muslims associated with the local Anjuman committee greeted them with fruits and snacks. They also offered refreshments to the priests accompanying the procession.

After the communal clashes reported during Ram Navami and Hanuman Jayanti festivals earlier this year from different parts of India, this warm welcome extended to the Ram Dal by the Muslims of Dara Nagar, sets an example of peaceful coexistence.


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