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NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi would have been delighted today to see the Ramayana being performed at the opening ceremony of the 31st ASEAN Summit.
But what is the connection between the Philippines and the ancient Indian epic?
Turns out, Hindu influences and folklore arrived in the Philippines around the 9th or 10th century AD, say Indologists Juan R. Francisco and Josephine Acosta Pasricha. The Philippines’ famous dance ‘Singkil’ is based on the Ramayana. It is a folk dance of the Maranao people of the island nation’s Lake Lanao.
The Ramayana in the Philippines is called ‘Maharadia Lawana’ which means ‘King Ravana’.
In Manila today, a troupe performed a ballet, ‘Rama Hari’ based on ‘Maharadia Lawana’ . In attendance were, US President Donald Trump, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe among others, in addition to PM Modi.
The spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs took to Twitter to express delight that the epic narrative is a common thread that binds ASEAN member states.
Inspired by our Epics. The ballet company Rama Hari presents musical version of #Ramayana, an epic narrative that i… https://t.co/RPMVXYxuix
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia)
Indian Twitter users were also buoyed by the performance.
A Proud Moment!Ramayana show staged at the opening ceremony of 31st #ASEANSummit https://t.co/mE35PmAksd
— Sweta_Entomon (@sp_dash68)
This is not the first time the Ramayana has been showcased at an ASEAN summit. Last year, the ancient Indian epic poem was performed at the semi-annual meeting, which was held in Laos.
Ramayana in ASEAN proves Indian inclusive culture n belief ‘world is one family’ was embraced by many over millennia https://t.co/mhUwABonfO
— Abbagani Ramu (@RamuAbbagani)
Just a few days ago, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi released postage stamps based on the Ramayana in Varanasi.