RE-TELECAST DURING LOCKDOWN
AN EPIC LIFE BARSAAT TO RAMAYAN
RAMANAND SAGAR KE JEEVAN KI AKATH KAHANI
Wonder of wonders! A bride in Chandigarh delays her marriage by an hour for she does not want to miss the Ramayan episode.
A funeral procession in Muzaffarnagar is delayed by an hour to enable the mourners to watch Ramayan.
In many homes, especially in the villagers, television turns into a temple the moment Ramayan begins.
Families worship television sets in Cuttack during the telecast of the serial. In some houses, bells are rung and conch shells blown during the telecast
Timings of social gatherings, political meetings, board meetings and even religious functions are changed to suit Ramayan timings. Otherwise, the attendance is so poor that meetings have to be cancelled. It is reported that at least 50 percent of those who work in hotels, hospitals etc., absent themselves only during Ramayan time.
Long train journeys are reported to have over-stopped at certain stations since passengers have refused to leave the platform when Ramayan is being telecast.
Traffic on National highways suddenly becomes a trickle on Sunday morning as truck drivers stop by the wayside restaurants to watch Ramayan. Yes, Ramayan is changing lives and ways of life.
An aged man is pleasantly amused as his westernised son suddenly beings touching his feet in reverence. Families given to biter feuds for years, realise their follies on learning the eternal truths of Ramayan. They forgive, forget and reunite. Children wake up early on Sunday morning to be able to watch Ramayan. It is the fun way of learning about our culture and heritage. College-going teens talk in the lingo of Ramayan.
It is phenomenon which has not happened for centuries.
All creeds, all communities – Hindus, Sikhs, Christians – North Indians, South Indians, East and West Indians – are all united in that magic half – hour.
The TV serial Ramayan which gets beamed to the Pakistan side of Punjab from Amritsar and Jalandhar, has found several avid viewers in Lahore. The series was a big hit in Africa, where they adored the Monkey God, Hanuman.
Since it was first telecast in 1987 on 25th January, the series has never stopped playing some place in some part of the world. When the lockdown happened, the entire nation was very scared. No one knew what was going to happen. The brainwave of our Honourable PM of India, The Ramayan was re-telecasted on Saturday March 28, 2020 on Doordarshan, and once again had the entire nation glued to the television sets, and an entire new generation of audiences watched the epic on television after 33 years. Such is the effect of the Ramayan, it creates deserted streets whenever it is telecasted as everyone wishes to dip into this Sagar of bliss, spirituality, values and culture. In spite of having not so great production values, no graphics at that time when it was made, what works each time is the great content, the fantastic writing, the dialogues and everyone has tears of joy in their eyes. Such is the phenomenon of the Ramayan series.
Ram-Anand-Sagar as the name suggests is the Sagar of Ram’s bliss, and his wife’s name was Leela (the cosmic play). So there is no doubt that he was born to make this epic which he completed at a ripe age of 70 years.
Ramanand Sagar's mega epic TV serial 'Ramayan' when first telecast in 1987 created unprecedented records. It blazed new trails all over the world with a unique distinction of achieving something which even prophets, scholars, great thinkers, religious leaders, social reformers and politicians could not achieve in centuries.
The message of 'Ramayan' cut across all the barriers of caste, creed, language and political boundaries. The euphoria that 'Ramayan' created was documented by the media during its telecast.
Ramayan has no religious projection – the only projection is human and therefore, it is Universal.
Ramayan brings to life the ideals that we have lost sight of like truth, righteousness, love, benevolence and profound spiritualism. How to be an ideal brother, ideal father, ideal sister, ideal wife, ideal husband etc. are taught to us through the story of Ramayan, which present the characters different situations in which audience can learn from their acceptance and reactions to the various situations. Thus stories are the best way to teach lessons and morals.
No wonder Sagar says of his masterpiece: "It is an act of Divine Power and I am merely a tiny instrument.” He often said, “I am a mere postman. I was asked to deliver this letter to humanity and so I did. Now if you want to give me credit for it, its up to you.”
The presentation sets and costumes are in the styles of Indian folk art and folk drama.
The dialogue writing is a scholarly work of painstaking research and the thoughtful, detailed reading of the Ramayan in Sanskrit, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, Avadhi, Malayalam, Kannada and Assamese languages, written by Rishis, Sages and the great Masters of these languages.
Sagar says: "My Ramayan is like the great Rishis including modern great men like Mahatma Gandhi outwardly dressed in a beggar's loin cloth – but within, a spiritual power house which affects the whole of humanity."
Something like Ramanand Sagar's Ramayan can happen only once in many centuries.
Do read more about the life of Dr. Sagar in the book, An Epic Life – From Barsaat to Ramayan released by Westland Pulications. The book is also available on Kindle.
Here are some of our best incidences that have been documented during the first telecast in 1987.
(Malyavan & Agastya)
(Samudra Dev and Various roles)
(Shatanand, Ahilya Devi & Gautam Rishi's son, priest of Janak)
(Garuda, Indra, Jatayu, Narantak)
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