A glorious profusion of green, red and gold lights, sparkling and twinkling at the same time, lit up the sky for several minutes before a bejewelled arrow found its mark – the blue effigy of the demon Kumbhakaran, undefeatable warrior and beloved brother of the most feared of all demons, Ravan.
The archer was none other than Congress president Sonia Gandhi who sat alongside Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi at Ramlila Maidan here on Wednesday to watch the age-old triumph of good over evil.
The next demon to be burnt was the towering 10-foot-long effigy of Meghnad – invincible in battle and beloved son of Lord Ravan. Sadly, there was no arrow coming forth from the special podium and the crowd had to be content with the scene of the majestic fire itself, lit by a stage Lakshman, or was it someone else? It was too far out to know for sure and the smoke was now making visibility, or at least human visibility low.
According to tradition, the show can only end when the effigy of Ravan is burnt. The demon king was killed in battle by Lord Rama against all odds, which symbolises the victory of good over evil and no matter how many versions of the Ramayana might abound in our country, the principal remains the same – Ravan has to burn, evil must be burnt, and that crucial victory of that most important legend must be celebrated every year as Vijayadashmi.
“Bolo Ram Chandra ki jai!” came the announcement. The crowd responded very enthusiastically.
After more crowd-rousing slogans and warnings not to go too near the already burning evil demons, it was time for the king of all evil to burn, and burn he did, splendidly and magnificent, lit by burning flames from torches on the ground.
The burning flames, however, did not warm up the average citizen, who suddenly realised that the air was very cold indeed. Dussehra in most parts of the country is also meant to herald the coming of winter and the closing of summer.
Earlier in the day, President Pranab Mukherjee along with Dr. Manmohan Singh and Ms. Sonia Gandhi attended the Ramlila celebrations at Subhas Maidan at Red Fort. “Happy Dusshera to all! May this festival bring prosperity to the country,” said the President.