The city of Lucknow is known for its inclusive traditions. The tradition set by the ruler Wajid Ali Shah who disguised himself as Lord Krishna and played flute to spread message of universal love and, Malik Mohammad Jayasi, poet personified the love of Krishna through his poetry remains here even in the modern era.
One of the manifestations of this inclusive tradition is the Ramlila staged in the Bakshi Ka Talab area of Lucknow that has gone on uninterrupted for 48 years with the exception of the mandatory lockdown for two consecutive years due to the Covid-lockdown.
This show has Muslims as the actors, organizers and script writers.
The stage show based on the epic Ramcharitramanas written by Tulsidas is held here for three days – beginning with Dussehra festival. The show is held amidst a big fair at Bakshi ka Takab. This has been going on since 1972.
The Talab was built by Tripura Chandra Bakshi on the Rudahi Sitapur.
Muslim actors play the characters of Ram, Laxman, Janaki and Ravana brilliantly on the stage. The village panchayat that was elected for the first time in 2009, takes up the responsibility of organizing this fair.
As the Ramlila resumes after a gap of two years, Salman Khan is playing the role of Ram, Arbaaz Khan as Laxman, Sher Khan as Raja Janak and Mohd. Sarwar as Bharat. Naseem is repeating his role of powerful Ravana and Sahil will play the character of Meghnad. On the other hand, Syed Zaidi is playing the character of Kaushalya. Shabir Khan, who was associated with the initial phase of this Ramlila, is also teaching everyone the tricks of dialogue and acting as a Ramlila director.
The three-day Dussehra fair at BKT will start from October 5. Ram's chariot will leave from Ramlila Maidan on the first day and the show will start with his arrival on the stage.
The next day the Hindu-Muslim artistes of the village will stage Sita Swayamvar.
Ravana will be killed on the third day of the fair, October 7. In the evening the effigy of Ravana will be burnt. The locals leave no stone unturned to impress the audiences through their performance. About five decades ago this Dussehra fair was started by the village head of Rudahi, Maiku Lal Yadav and local doctor Muzaffar and this tradition continues even today.