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Dussehra: The Many Ramayanas In Northeast And The Folklores

Northeast

Dussehra: The Many Ramayanas In Northeast And The Folklores

Ram Navami And Dussehra in Northeast: In many tribal versions, certain characters and events of the Valmiki Ramayana change according to the culture, tradition, ecology and the animistic faiths. Hence, they become more of a cultural metaphor than sacred texts.

Celebrating Ram: Theatre artists performing a play from Ramayana Photo: Getty Images

In the 1980s, like the rest of India, in Mizoram, the Sunday morning, which is also the ‘church morning’, came to a standstill when the entire families staying glued to their TV sets for an hour. The TV serial Ramayan grabbed eyeballs of the non-Hindi Mizo population, which was in a transitional phase from pre-Christian to Christianity. So much was its popularity that playing with bows and arrows became a favourite sport of the Mizo kids. In an attempt to stop Hinduism from influencing the tribal land, the Church asked parents to not let their children indulge in the sport.

But much before the serial, the Mizos had their own versions of the Ramayana in their folklores known as “Khena leh Ram­ate unane thawn thu” (The story of Khena and Ram)”, where Khena is the name for Ram’s brother Lakshman.

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