Padma Shri recommendation for Punjab family devoted to Ramlila!
The long association of Bagga family with Lord Rama paid off, in the form of a recommendation for Padma Shri award! Their three generations, spanning over 55 years, have essayed Ram’s character at Sector-17 Ramlila.
As a mark of recognition for their efforts, city Member Parliament (MP) has recommended their name for Padma Shri award.
“It is a great recognition for the family’s devotion to promote their heritage,” said Rajinder Bagga, a tailor by profession who had stepped into the shoes of his father in 1981 to portray Ram.
“The recommendation comes as recognition to the artists participating in Ramlila and keeping our culture alive. This is long due and would encourage more people to come forward to participate,” added Rajinder.
Rajinder Bagga, who hails from Jalandhar, stepped into the shoes of his father Sohan Lal Bagga, in 1981 and in 2013 his son, Gaurav Bagga (25), a contractual employee of food and supplies department, Haryana, replaced him as Ram after 26 years.
“I started playing Lord Ram after the committee had decided to introduce fresh faces and the role became a part of my life. Old women used to come and touch my feet and most people greet me with Jai Ramji ki,” said Bagga. How the character has become part of him is evident from the fact that Bagga’s dialer tone is also Jai Shree Ram.
Rajinder says that Ramlila has evolved over the past 5 decades. “Ramlila has undergone a lot of change. There were times when there were hardly any persons who used to come for Ramlila. But now the audience are coming back and that is a positive sign and encouraging for the artistes,” added Rajinder Bagga.
His son Gaurav has been participating in Ramlila since 1996, when, at age 8, he performed the role of young Lord Rama. He said that Ramlila was in their blood and as his father and grandfather were considered icons, therefore, he also decided to participate.