New Delhi, Oct 20 (SocialNews.XYZ) A 10-member team of artists from Fiji is in New Delhi to perform Ramlila as part of the 6th International Ramayan Conference organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), currently underway in the national capital.
The group of Indian-origin artists, will also be performing at the three-day Deepotsav (festival of lights) in Ayodhya, which begins on Friday.
“For the past 10 years or so, the interest in Ram Leela has been dying out and in many areas of Fiji, it has completely stopped. It was something that was brought in by our forefathers. It is a cultural heritage, and it is important that we pass it on to our younger generation and that’s what we have been trying to do,” Akhilesh Prasad, President of Shree Satsang Ramayan Mandali of Lami, told fbcnews.com.
Indians make around 38 per cent of Fiji’s population and as of 2021, roughly 3.20 lakh Indians live in the South Pacific nation, according to the Union Ministry of External Affairs.
They have mostly descended from ‘Girmitiyas’, or indentured labourers, brought to the islands by British colonial rulers between 1879 and 1916 to work on Fiji’s sugar plantations.
The vast majority of Indo-Fijians trace their origins to Bihar and South India.
A significant number of Fiji-Indians celebrate Ramlila and Diwali with traditional rituals, and they are part of the main events held on the islands.
Like their Indian counterparts, people of Fiji celebrate Diwali with elaborate lighting and candle decorations.
Unesco established Ramlila, the theatrical enactment of Lord Ram’s life, as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.
The festival is celebrated by the Indian community in Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand, Mauritius, Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the US, Canada, and the UK.