Address by Governor at the inauguration of the Ramayana International Festival
Address by Governor at the inauguration of the Ramayana International Festival at MMRDA Grounds, G-TEX Block, Ground No. 5, Bandra Kurla Complex, Kalina, Mumbai at 6 pm on Monday, 25th February 2019
Shri Jayakumar Rawal, Hon’ble Minister for Tourism, Government of Maharashtra, Shri. Babasaheb Purandare, Padma Vibhushan, Smt Vinita Ved Singhal, Secretary, Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Shri Abhimanyu Kale, Managing Director, MTDC, officials of Tourism Department and MTDC, all participating troupe members from India, Cambodia, The Philippines and Indonesia, distinguished invitees, ladies and gentlemen,
At the outset I extend a warm welcome to each one of you to the inauguration ceremony of the Ramayana International Festival.
I am delighted that the Royal Ballet of Cambodia, the Integrated Performing Arts Guild, Philippines, the Sanggar Paripurna, Indonesia and the Ganesa Natyalaya from India will be performing their unique version of Ramayana over the next four days of the Ramayana Festival.
I congratulate the Hon’ble Minister for Tourism Shri Jayakumar Rawal, the Department of Tourism and MTDC for conceiving and launching the Ramayana International Festival from Mumbai from this year.
Through this beautiful event, we are rekindling and rejuvenating our historic links with the participating nations using our shared values and cultural presentation as the medium.
Ladies and gentlemen,
If any single epic has cast its deepest influence on such large population for thousands of years, cutting across the boundaries of culture, religion and region, it is the timeless epic of Ramayana. The values of Ramayana have become a part of DNA of every Indian.
There are many versions of Ramayana in Indian languages, besides Buddhist, Sikh, and Jain adaptations.
I understand that there are also Cambodian, Indonesian, Filipino, Thai, Lao, Burmese and Malaysian versions of Ramayana and stories associated with it.
Two years ago, when India’s Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi went to Manila to participate in the 31st ASEAN Summit, a troupe from The Philippines had performed a ballet ‘Rama Hari’ based on ‘King Ravana’. The Hon’ble Prime Minister stated that he was highly impressed by the beautiful performance of the Ramayana by the Filipino artists.
The Ramayana is one story, which is being told and retold from generation to generation, in almost all Indian languages, many foreign languages and also in many dialects.
Ramayana is a story of love, respect, obedience, Satya and Tyaga. It is also a story of war between the good and the evil, in which the good prevails.
If Ramayana is a story of adventure, it is also a story of ethics and morality in public life. Ramayana is a treatise of conduct and behaviour in a just and fair society.
Once the Ramayana was translated into English, German, French and other foreign languages, it captured the imagination of many scholars, philosophers and thinkers across the world about Indian culture and values.
We need to bring forth Ramayana in a form that will appeal to the young and the old alike. It will shape the thoughts, ideals and character of our new generations.
I do feel that the stories of Ramayana should be taught to every children in schools.
Swami Vivekananda, India’s greatest cultural ambassador to the world had delivered a lecture on Ramayana in California in the year 1900. Vivekananda described Ramayana as India’s greatest epic which embodied the manners and customs, the state of society, civilization, etc., of the ancient Indians.
The nation will be celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi this year. Writing in his autobiography ‘The Story of My Experiments with Truth’, Mahatma Gandhi, wrote that Ramayana had left a deep impression on him.
Ladies and gentlemen,
There are a number of places associated with the life of Lord Rama in India, Sri Lanka and also in Maharashtra. The tourism department should create awareness about these places and develop the Ramayana circuit in association with other States. ‘Ramayana Circuit’ should also extend to countries like Myanamar, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other places.
As Chancellor of state Universities in Maharashtra, I would like our universities to conduct deeper studies in Ramayana and the places associated with it.
Ramayana can be the basis on which nations of the world can unite for global peace, harmony and cooperation. A good beginning is being made from today.
I congratulate the Tourism Department, MTDC and all the participating troupes and appeal to the people of Maharashtra and our tourists to enjoy and appreciate the Ramayana International Festival.
Jai Hind ! Jai Maharashtra !!