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Joonmoni Begum and Aamir play Krishna’s parents in Ras festival of Assam

Munni Begum / Guwahati

For the third consecutive year, Aamir Khan and his wife Joonmoni Begum are playing the role of Nand, the father of Lord Krishna and Yashoda, his adotpive mother respectively at the ongoing annual Ras festival at Bishwanth, a district headquarter town in Upper Assam.

The tradition of Ras Leela, has been prevalent for centuries in the upper Assam districts. It can to some extent be compared with the nine-day Ram Leela of north India.

Raas is largely celebrated with humans dressing up as Indian mythological characters. The 15-day annual festival starts on the full moon day called Sharad Purnima roughly in the months of October-November (Kati- Aghun) and it brings in a lot of excitement.

The Bishwanath couple are an example of how Ras Leela enhances the spiritual environment around by being inclusive and sending a message of unity and religious harmony.

Joonmoni and Aamir Khan playing the role of Nand and Yashoda

Although it is primarily a Hindu religious festival, the Rasleela of Lord Krishna is an open platform for artists and performers of all faiths to showcase their talents. 

“For the past three years, my wife Joonmoni Begum and I have been acting as Nand Lal and Yashoda in the Nandotsav Natika of the Bishwanath Ras Festival,” says Aamir Khan.

The Nandotsav Natika is an opera-style stage drama full of songs and music. Yashoda plays the mother of baby Krishna and sings and dances with him in her arms.

Aamir Khan and his wife Joonmoni Begum’s performance is a testimony to the bond of religious harmony and unity in Assam has not yet weakened. 

Joonmoni and Aamir Khan on the stage

“Some evil circles are trying to destroy the communal atmosphere in Assam, but it is not easy to weaken the bond of unity that has existed among the people of Assam for centuries. Assam has a unique history “Muslims have been living together. They have been spreading the message of harmony in the world, says Amir. 

Besides Amir-Joonmoni, Hamida Khatun has also been performing Guru Bandana, Krishna Bandana, nd other devotional perforor other songs at the Bishwanath Ras Festival for 25 years.

The Bishwanath Ras Festival reflects that harmony is not just a matter of discussion, it is a complete example of harmony.

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This year’s Ras festival features plays such as Anant Shaya, Daivaki’s Marriage, Nandotsav, Putna Badha, and Kaliya Daman

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