Regardless of the swirling politics, it promises to be a stunning Diwali celebration in Ayodhya on Tuesday.
If the dress rehearsal is anything to go by, invitees and audiences at the Uttar Pradesh chief minister's Diwali celebration will be treated to a quite spectacular sound and light show, among other festivities at the holy city.
A video of the rehearsal showed the lights being tested at a lit-up and decorated Saryu ghat. The constitution of the lights that have been deployed is also undoubtedly a cutting-edge feature, with the resulting holograms effectively functioning as a high-resolution screen, and also being able to simulate myriad solid figures. Meanwhile, the reflection of the visuals off the river's surface adds another element.
And then there are the visuals themselves. The motif of the laser show is reportedly a retelling of the Ramayana. In the retelling, a number of different artistic styles have been applied. There are parts that are purely laser, drawing Lord Ram's chappals. Using the same technique, there are silhouettes of Ram and Laxman while in exile. There are also animated recreations of various key scenes, as well as the use of live-action footage, likely from the pathbreaking Ramayana TV serial that brought the epic into people's homes, villages and towns so effectively at the dawn of India's television revolution.
The Ayodhya Diwali was a talking point last year as well -- Yogi Adityanath's first as CM -- but this time around all eyes will definitely be on it like never before. With the Supreme Court deprioritising hearing the Ayodhya case till January 2019 at least, there have been numerous calls for the central government to step in and issue an ordinance or bring a law to facilitate the building of the Ram Mandir at the Ram Janmabhoomi site. The Uttar Pradesh chief minister has, meanwhile, invited Hindu seers, assuring them that work on the Mandir will start on time, and has indicated that he may make a Mandir-related announcement. In the last few days he also revealed plans to build a Ram statue, along the lines of the Statue of Unity in Gujarat.
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