Bar girls spice up Ramlilas in UP

Bar girls spice up Ramlilas in UP

Dance shows are organised to bring in the crowds.

Ram and his divine coterie would still be there on stage, as mute spectators, helpessness writ large on their made-up faces. The audience would be on another high, dancing and hooting to the sleazy songs, far from the devotional fervour such shows aim to invoke.

Though prevalent across North India for some time, the presence of bar girls at Ramlila shows could be particularly noted across Uttar Pradesh, where people have for ages greeted and even swore by the name of Lord Ram.

The picture on one such stage in the Mirzapur town of UP looked odd, even comical, as scantily clad bar girls danced to ‘desi’ tunes when Ram married Sita. Spectators, including many elderly people, whistled and made obscene gestures at the girls while the costume-clad actors watched in silence. More or less similar scenes could be seen at Ramlilas in Ferozabad town near Agra.

The trend, however, has run into some trouble from the region’s moral police, especially those affiliated to the saffron brigade. While none from the audience opposed the dance show at Mirzapur, many from Ferozabad raised objections.

“There is no place for obscene dance shows in religious programmes...such shows go diametrically opposite to what the religion preaches and stands for,” said district Vishwa Hindu Parishad Chief, Pratap Kumar Jain.

Subsequently, a delegation of eminent citizens from Ferozabad met the district magistrate and urged him to stop such shows and take action against the organisers. To some Ramlila committee organisers, the very idea behind staging of the story of Ram will be defeated if bar girls take the centrestage. “The idea behind staging a Ramila is to inspire the people to emulate the character of Ram...it is not a fair,” an office-bearer said.

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