The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) will be organising the fifth International Ramayana Festival in New Delhi between September 17-19 as a part of the Modi government's exercise to project the cultural aspect of India's soft power. After the national capital, the festival will also be held in Uttar Pradesh's Lucknow between September 20-22 and in Pune on September 21. Home Minister Amit Shah is set to inaugurate the cultural festival.
The Ramayana festival will see participation of groups from eight countries, including Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka, ICCR President Vinay Sahasrabuddhe reportedly said on Friday. The groups will also visit Ayodhya, the holy town where Lord Rama is believed to have been born. Asked if they will also visit the Ram Temple at the disputed site, the exact place where Hindus believe Ram was born, Sahasrabuddhe said it is "natural". There will be, however, no performance in the town. He said that cultural dimension is an important aspect of soft power and the Union government since 2015 has projected it strongly.
ICCR officially annonced the inaguration of cultural festival by the hands of Home Minister Amit Shah.
Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah, will inaugurate the 5th International Ramayana Festival from 17-19 Sept 19 at Kamani Audi, New Delhi. Groups are from #Thailand #Indonesia #Sri_Lanka #Cambodia #Mauritius #Trinidad_Tobago #Bangladesh #Fiji. All are welcome to join. pic.twitter.com/MfofmTYg6R— ICCR (@ICCR_Delhi) September 13, 2019
Groups from Trinidad and Tobago, Mauritius and Fiji will also participate in the festival, Sahasrabuddhe, a Rajya Sabha MP and the Vice President of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said. In the festival, which is generally organised before Navaratra, artists showcase cultural interpretations of the Epic.
"It is a culturally significant event as it provides a chance to witness different versions of an epic that has been traditionally transmitted by each country in its own way," an ICCR statement said. The first festival in 2015 was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.