For the past six decades, members from different generations of the Chaturvedi family have been staging Ramleela across the city. In Chandigarh, they have been pulling off the act at the Ramleela Committee in Sector 27 for the past four years. This year, 13 members from three generations of the family are performing. The youngest actor from the family is only six years old, whereas the oldest one is nearly 65.
Pandit Sham Sundar Chaturvedi, who leads the group, said, “Since our early teenage days, we have been travelling across the country to stage Ramleela in different places. We have staged Ramleela in Delhi, Mumbai and almost every corner of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.”Such is the dedication of the Chaurvedi family members that they not only perform but also make sure that they handle the designing of costumes and the make-up on their own. They also have a tradition of letting only unmarried male members from the family play the role of Lord Ram.
During the 10 days of Ramleela, the group also travels with their own cooking crew, which allows their food habits to be in accordance with their religious sentiments.
Some of the family members are still studying, whereas other are working professionals who always take out time to practise. Gopal, who is playing the role of Lord Ram this year, has completed his graduation and is now preparing for Chartered Accountancy. Another member, Upendra, is pursuing a course in Sanskrit, whereas Vijay is doing an internship at a private lab in Mathura.
“Our family’s motive is to spread the message of Lord Ram, as we are firm believers of his teachings. This tradition of actively participating in Ramleelas will continue in all the future generations of our family as well,” says Sham Sunder.