Sita 'swayamvar' turns 'reality show' for Ramlila audience

Sita 'swayamvar' turns 'reality show' for Ramlila audience

Several poor girls have been married to actors in the past

The joy of the assemblage in Shakkarpur Chapra village of Uttar Pradesh’s Mau district knew no bounds when it was revealed to their complete astonishment that Sita’s sisters Urmila, Mandvi and Shrutkirti would really be marrying Lord Rama’s brothers Lakshman, Bharatha and Shatrughna, respectively, on stage.

For the curious audience, it was part of the mythology, and barring a few, none knew that the garlanding of the brothers by the sisters and the rituals that followed were “real”.

A mesmerised audience, comprising villagers, the local MLA, pradhans and other public representatives, witnessed the rituals in silence as the priests solemnised the wedding in the true Vedic style amidst the chanting of mantras. The four grooms were brothers in real life, who married four “poor girls” before the huge audience.

In the past, the village of Shakkarpur Chapra has witnessed several such “real marriages” during the staging of Ramlilas. “Several poor girls have been married in the past to actors enacting the roles of Rama, Lakshman, Bharatha and Shatrughna,” said Premchand Patel, the organiser of the event.“No dowry is paid in such marriages, and they are considered auspicious as well,” he added. Patel however rued that only four marriages could be solemnised in a Ramlila.

Notwithstanding such marriages are fixed in advance, majority of the audience have no idea about them, Patel said, adding that they (marriages) are announced during the shows taking the audience unawares.

Local MLA Umesh Pandey presented gifts to the newly wedded couples even as they were blessed by a large number of people. People from nearby villages thronged the venue to witness the ceremony.