Bareilly: A Muslim theatre artist, who has been playing Lord Ram in ‘Ramlila’ here for a long time, has been threatened that he would be excommunicated and killed if he does it this year.
Thirty-year-old theatre artist Danish, a resident of the old city area, has conveyed the threat to him from a man of his own community in a complaint to Bareilly’s Senior Superintendent of Police Rohit Singh Sajwan, The New Indian Express (TNIE) reported.
In his complaint, Danish has said his tenant, who too belongs to his community and with whom he has some dispute, has tried to make an issue out of a Muslim playing the character of a Hindu god.
In 2016, Bollywood actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui was also forced to pull out of a Ramlila show in his native Budhana village in Muzaffarnagar, due to protests by the Shiv Sena. He was all set to essay the role of Marich, Ravana’s uncle. All this, when UP’s Ramlilas have always exemplified inter-religious unity, with Muslims playing key roles.
The inter-community bond dates back to the medieval times of nawabs who patronised the arts in a big way and continues till today. In many places, Muslims play key characters in annual Ramlila shows put on during the Puja season, which is a dramatic retelling of the battle between Rama, the Hindu god, and Ravana, a Lankan king. In fact, in many UP towns and villages, Muslims are top members of committees that manage the Ramlila shows that typically culminate on Vijayadashami day, Hindustan Times (HT) reported.
Another report dating back to 2016 revealed how a Muslim heads the Ramlila Ramayana Samiti. In Delhi, a local Muslim boy has been playing the role of Lakshmana for the past 15 years, reported Indiatimes. Similarly, a Muslim family in Lucknow has been organising Ramlila since 1972 in Bakshi Ka Talab area, with family members across three generations taking part in it, The Indian Express reported.