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Ramleela epic played out despite heavy rain

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
An effigy of Evil King Rawan is set on fire at Palmiste Park, San Fernando to symbolise the end of Pandavas Ramleela celebrations on Sunday night. PHOTOS: RISHI RAGOONATH

While the curfew and the state of emergency have curtailed many Ramleela celebrations nationwide, Attorney General Anand Ramlogan is calling on citizens to bear with the present circumstances. Ramlogan, addressing the closing ceremony of annual Pandavas Ramleela celebrations, Palmiste Park, San Fernando, on Sunday night, said the state of emergency was necessary “to restore law and order.” The AG told his audience who braved heavy downpours to watch the shortened version of the Hindu epic played out live on stage, that the presentation was “very good.”

However, he admitted the state of emergency “put a damper on the celebrations. I want, on behalf of the Government of T&T, to thank you for the understanding and patience that you have demonstrated during the state of emergency.” Ramlogan said the Government had to embark on “a rescue mission because crime was out of control and we all love Trinidad and Tobago. “It is our homeland. We want to leave this place a better place for our young children and that is why the state of emergency is necessary so the army can join hands with the Police Service to restore law and order to this beautiful country.

“Rest assured we are working night and day to ensure that T&T does not slip away from us.” Housing Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal commended spectators who came out to witness the play. He said Ramleela was one of the few occasions “in our national lives when you have persons, who are children, parents and grandparents coming to the same activity. It is very rare.” Moonilal said the family values exhibited through Ramleela were useful tools in the fight against crime.  “Our biggest challenge is crime but there are several elements involved in solving crime, not only policing, courts and justice and so on, but, the rebuilding of family life. (Ramleela) as an activity encourages children, parents and grandparents and we must encourage this by public policy,” Moonilal contended.

Spectators, many of whom had to whip out umbrellas during the evening’s festivities, were treated to entertaining portrayals as actors re-enacted Hindu deity Lord Rama’s battle with evil King Ravan when he journeyed to Lanka to rescue his wife’s mother Sita who was kidnapped. Even the state of emergency featured in the play as Susheen, a spiritual doctor who was called upon to cure Lord Rama’s brother Lakshman after he was wounded in battle, asked to return home before curfew. “It have curfew and thing, I doh want to get caught in that,” he said. The play was accompanied by rhythmic tassa drumming.