ALLAHABAD: Even as the country anxiously awaits the verdict on the Ramjanmabhoomi-Babri Masjid dispute, Abdul Wahid stands out as a symbol of communal harmony in the Sangam city. This humble `dresswala’ sends across a strong message that religion is meant for bonding people, not dividing them.
While the security agencies were busy making preparations to thwart any communal tension in wake of the Ayodhya verdict, to be pronounced on Thursday, Abdul Wahid alias Anwar alias Ram Singh, remained focus on his annual activity — making dresses for the characters of Ram Leela, which will be staged in the city during Dussehra.
Be it Lord Rama, Laxman, Sita, Ravana, or Hanuman, all these characters wear the dresses made by Wahid and his family. Such is the popularity of Wahid among the aristes that they have given him a new name — Ram Singh. Today, he is more famous as Ram Singh dresswala. Carrying the family profession in the fourth generation, the old man is now supported by his sons Saud, Abdulla, Saeed and other family members in the business.
“Mandir aur masjid ki baten karna sirf faltu logo ka kaam hai, jab unke pas koi aur kaam nahi hai karne ko to kya karen, (the issues of temple and mosque are being talked by people who do not have any other work to do),” said Wahid’s younger son Abdulla. “For me, Ram and his life is as important as that of Allah. And why only me, I believe youngsters, be they of any any religion, have grown watching the epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata on TV,” he added.
“Why only Ram Leela, even Muslim youths play various characters of the Ramayana in the tableaux displayed during Dussehra,” said Abbas, a Muslim youth sitting next to Abdulla.
Abdul Wahid and his family were more interested in the Ram Leela rehearsals underway on at the grounds of Pattharchati, than the Ayodhya verdict.
“Ours is the fourth generation in this business even though the earnings have dwindled over the years,” said Saeed. Red coloured jackets with dominant golden embroidery, pearl necklaces, silken dhoti, thick black menacing moustaches and beard, the deft hands of Wahid and his family members infuse life in the Ram Leela characters.
Throughout the year we collect materials like human hair, artificial jewellery, latest costumes and eye-catching embroidery as these things make our business successful,” said Wahid’s son Saud, who joined the family business from an early age.
We feel the hurt when innocents get killed in the cowardly acts by terrorists,” said Abdulla. And we feel proud when the audience cheers and seeks blessings from Lord Ram, for it also means appreciation for our hard work, he added.
Courtesy : The Times of India