date_range 06 Jul, 2020

77 year old resident continues with Dusshera tradition in Mussoorie

77 year old resident continues with Dusshera tradition in Mussoorie
Ajay Ramola

Mussoorie, October 8

Although the days of Ramleela enactment in the hill town of Mussoorie are over due to the changing entertainment preferences but there is one citizen of the town who is keeping the flame of the age old tradition alight by continuing with playing the role of Hanuman.
Chander Bhan, who now resides in Roorkee in Haridwar district makes it a point to reach Mussoorie on Dushhera festival to play his role as Hanuman be held on annual basis. He will be regaling the devotees young and old treading on foot across the four kilometre stretch of the road, starting from Tehri bus stand in Landour Bazaar to Gandhi Chowk, wearing the attire and mask of the Lord Hanuman during the religious procession on Tuesday afternoon.

Chandler Bhan on reaching the Sanatan Dharm temple at Landour Bazaar Mussoorie is greeted by his close aide Vijay Singh. This bonding goes back to the years when they both were part of the Ramleela commitee that use to enact the epic story of Ramayana uptill 1990''s. Vijay Singh was the director of the Ramleela troupe and was the first to give the role of Hanman to Chandar Bhan way back in 70's.

“Chandar Bhan has been playing the role of Hanuman during the Dusshera procession taken out annualy as the mark of triumph of good over evil and he still has the same strength to weather the conditions”, says Vijay Singh.

Without any let off in monkey-like mischief, Chandar Bhan, donning the attire of Hanuman, entertains the children and other revellers lined up on sore of the road to watch the tableaus depicting scene from Ramayana, added Vijay Singh.

The volunteers who were integral part of the Ramleela committee that use to organise Ramleela are sadden at the closure of staging enactments largely due to changing preferences and absence of anrdequate ground area.

“Earlier, the Ramleela used to take place at Sylverton ground which has now made way for a sprawling gaming zone nd parking in Kulri. At Library Bazaar, the Ramleela used to be organised at Library Bazaar chowks at nights but that too was stopped due to rise in the number of vehicles and the traffic jam situation faced during the show “ said Chander Khanduri who now plays the role of Rama in his village on every diwali fesivities.

“Chander Bhan is one of few residents of the town who is still keeping the memories of the good days alive in our memories says former MLA Mussoorie Jot Singh Gunsola, who was known for roles in Ramleela the famous one being of Ravana, the demon king while participating in the Ramleela back in 1970’s.

Chander Bhan while tying, the replica of the mace used by the Monkey lord Hanuman at the temple premises here says, “for me it is work as usual and without failing I have been playing the role assigned to me by the temple committee ”. The devotion (Bhakti) of Hanuman towards Lord Rama is unparallel and this devotional drive is for all to emulate adds Chander Bhan.

Mahendar Nath, the manager of the Sanatan Dharm Samiti that organises the Dussehra festival says, “We have persuaded Chander Bhan to recluse himself from the role due to the old age but he is adamant and promises to keep going on till he can”.

Chandar Bhan, has not taken a single penny for his role as Hanuman and is geared up for a gruelling journey at an advanced age. Watching Chander Bhan performing the the theatrics will be a sight to remember.
Chander Bhan is ably supported by his four sons and their grandchildren who are his motivation for the act that gives him immense joy and satisfaction.
“The priorities of the youth are different now so my only worry is who would succeed after I stop playing the role of Hanuman ,”says Chandar Bhan.
the citizens of the town eagerly await for the procession to begin Tuesday evening to watch him in action.

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