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PM Modi at ASEAN in the Philippines: The Ramayana Connection

Publication:  The Times of India
Date: November 13, 2017
URL:    https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-at-asean-in-the-philippines-the-ramayana-connection/articleshow/61624156.cms

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 PM said the ballet "beautifully highlighted" parts of the Ramayana.

Narendra Modi @narendramodi
You would be happy to know that the @ASEAN opening ceremony included excerpts from the musical Rama Hari, based on the Ramayana. Various parts of the Ramayana were beautifully highlighted in the Rama Hari. This shows our deep historical bonds and shared heritage.

10:27 AM - Nov 13, 2017

Modi also called the Filipino ballet "stupendous".

Narendra Modi @narendramodi
The Ramayana is widely popular among ASEAN nations. I compliment the cast and crew of Rama Hari for their stupendous performance at the ASEAN Summit.
10:31 AM - Nov 13, 2017
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.

Raveesh Kumar @MEAIndia
Inspired by our Epics. The ballet company Rama Hari presents musical version of #Ramayana, an epic narrative that is a shared heritage among the ASEAN member states.

8:49 AM - Nov 13, 2017

Indian Twitter users were also buoyed by the performance.

Sweta_Entomon @sp_dash68
A Proud Moment!Ramayana show staged at the opening ceremony of 31st #ASEANSummit https://youtu.be/M3N6daAn9-I

9:28 AM - Nov 13, 2017

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.
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