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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bhagwana - star of our town Ramlila

Bhagwana was a popular figure of Vihari of pre-partition days. He was known to each and every resident of Vihari because of his role of a dancer in the epic drama which was enacted every year before the festival of Dussehra. He was a star attraction for all but particularly for us children who used to stay late in the night to be able to watch his performances. We used to get scoldings for getting home at late hours. The evenings in the sandy town of Vihari used to be quite cold and on windy evenings made us shiver like a withered leaf on a tree. Bhagwana used to dance on the stage of Ramlila during the interludes to keep the audiences glued to their seats. His dancing was spell binding not only for his abilities as a dancer but also for his deformity of the wrist joints. He could move his hands at the wrists in any way thus giving him a unique advantage over others..
We lost contacts after partition of the country. Sometimes in 1952-3 I was visiting Saharanpur when I came across Bhagwana at the railway station. His family had started a roadside hotel 'dhaba' near the railway station. I went over there to have tea and snacks. He instantly recognised me and met very cordially. He even refused to take money for the snacks. That was the last time when I met him.