Associating Ramlila with a Muslim may sound strange in today’s world, but it was not so for Sourawardi.
Setting an example of religious harmony, Mohammed Amin Sourawardi, translated the verses of the Ramayana into Urdu for Ramlila decades ago in Doda.
Sourawardi died in 2008 at the age of 96 and even after 10 years, Ramlila artistes in Doda are performing on his scripts.
“Sourawardi, alias Showkat Faridi, was a well-known poet, who translated verses of the Ramayana in Urdu for Ramlila by simplifying its language for the common man in 1950s and his translations are still used for performances in Doda…
…During the 1950s and 60s, there were a huge participation of people in Ramlila as that was the only source to communicate the message of the Ramayana to the masses. People used to throng the Ramlila ground in large numbers”
-says Showqat Mugal, 75, of Doda
Back then, Khwaja Ghulam Kadir Nehru was the director of the Ramlila Club, Doda, Ghulam Mohammed Zarger was the makeup artist and Ghulam Kadir Kichloo of Kishtwar played Ravana, among many other Muslim artistes,” he said.
It was a unique contribution of people towards society which lived with communal harmony and brotherhood. With changing time, these events have been replaced by TV.
Read also: Basohli Ramlila the best in India
“Artists are still using the same script written by Sourawardi decades ago. Even at the time of militancy, Ramlila was never stopped in Doda due to communal harmony and brotherhood among both the Hindus and Muslims”
-says Akash Deep Rana, former president of the club.