Dussehra: #MeToo Ravana Set to Be Burned in Delhi
Indraprastha Ramlila Committee in East Delhi has instituted a new tradition over the past several years by burning a fourth effigy on the day of Dussehra, with the new demon representing pressing social issues of the day.
People watch an effigy of Ravana burn during Dussehra festival. (Image: AP)
Forgive the pun, but it’s definitely a burning issue. The Indraprastha Ramlila Committee in East Delhi has instituted a new tradition over the past several years by burning a fourth effigy on the day of Dussehra, apart from those of Ravana, Kumbhakaran, and Meghnad, with the new demon representing pressing social issues of the day.
According to a news report, this year’s candidates included WhatsApp, balatkari baba (rapist self-styled godmen) and parichit balatkari (familiar rapist). While the rapist categories come as no surprise given the ongoing #MeToo movement sweeping across the country, the reason for WhatsApp being included in the list of societal evils is due to the time and attention it devours of individuals, friends and families as well as the fake news and hate it sometimes (often) helps in spreading.
According to committee organisers, the results are in and the familiar rapist came out on top, of the pyre anyway. While Balatkari Baba was a close second, and WhatsApp a (presumably very) distant third, the majority settled to exorcize the spectre of the familiar rapist, by setting aflame a demon effigy representing the modern ogre. Given that, unfortunately, most incidents of sexual assault are carried out not by strangers, but rather by acquaintances, friends and family members, it is perhaps fitting that this festive season, familiarity will breed a conflagration. Talk about getting burned.
While it's not uncommon for various Ramlila committees around the country to experiment with innovative themes to help attract the general public, as well as public/political figures, there is also a growing focus on providing eco-friendly alternatives to the smoke-belching, electricity-devouring festivities that usually characterise Dussehra and Diwali.
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