|Mohammad Zafar Alam prepares the structure of Ravan on the campus of Bihar Co-operative Federation Limited in Patna. Picture by Ashok Sinha
Ravan Vadh at Gandhi Maidan will go hi-tech this year.
No more will Ram have to release an arrow to kill Ravan. He — or the chief guest in this case — would have to press a remote control switch for Ravan to go up in flames.
Dussehra Committee, Patna, will add a slice of technology to the celebrations the panel has been organising for the past 58 years.
P.R. Gandhi, a member of the committee, said: “For the first time this year, the chief guest at the event would be able to burn Ravan’s effigy from the main stage just by pressing a switch on the remote control.”
Usually, the effigies of Ravan, his brother Kumbhkaran and son Meghnad are shot down with arrows. The trio catch fire as the arrows light up the crackers stuffed inside the effigies.
Forty-five-year-old Mohammad Zafar Alam, in charge of preparing the effigies, said: “My father used to prepare the effigies before me. When we start working on the effigies, we forget everything else around us.”
The Telegraph on Sunday found Alam working on the three effigies with his 10 helpers at the Bihar Co-operative Federation Society ground. The effigies would be adorned in Rajasthani costumes. On the materials being used, he said: “We are using 300 bamboos, 200kg paper, 50kg wheat flour and 10kg paint to prepare the structures of Ravan, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad.”
Ravan’s Lanka would also be grand — 12-foot-long and 35-foot-wide.
Concern for the environment is up on the priority list for the organisers too. “Bursting crackers causes a lot of pollution, so we have decided to use eco-friendly firecrackers this year. These do not have too many chemicals like the conventional crackers and emit less smoke,” said Gandhi.
For the Bharat Milap programme — organised by the committee the day after Dussehra — the group will bring in artistes from Bihar Art Theatre to perform at Kalidas Rangalaya.
Gandhi provided an anecdote from the scores of memories of the past 58 years. He said: “I cannot forget one incident when Laluji (Lalu Prasad) was the chief minister in 1991. He had to burn the effigy at Gandhi Maidan and doing so, he fell into a ditch and broke a leg. He immediately instructed the district magistrate to fill up the ditches so that chief guests in future did not meet similar accidents. So, in a way, our programme also contributed to the beautification of the ground.”
What they are thinking
Dussehra Committee, Patna, plans
to set effigies of Ravan, Kumbhkaran and Meghnad on fire by remote control from main stage at Gandhi Maidan
The remote control’s circuit board will be compatible with wiring in the effigies. On pressing the remote button, a short
circuit will be triggered in the cracker-stuffed effigies, situated around 150m from the main stage, setting them on fire
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