Researching the Modern Relevance of Myth, History and Tradition in Karnad’s play Bali: The Sacrifice
Mr. Akash Dutta
Guru Ghasidas Vishwavidyalaya
‘Indian Drama’ is the broad concept comprising entire Indian myths, and culture. “India has the longest and the richest tradition in drama. The origin of Indian drama can be traced back to the Vedic period. As a manifestation of our national sensibility, Indian drama came into existence as a means of exploring and communicating the truth of things and was popularly hailed as “Fifth Veda”,( R.K. Dhawan and V.K Reddy: 4). Ancient Hindus developed drama tradition 2000 years earlier than Greek drama which came into existence with the monumental work of Aristotle’s ‘Poetics’. Bharata Muni was an incarnation for the development of Indian drama who advocated the theory of drama and stagecraft in his famous treatise ‘Natya Shashtra’ which deals with all aspects of drama – stage setting, music, plot-construction, characterization, dialogue and acting. In acting Bharat Muni specially elaborated ‘Rasa’ with eight basic emotions- Love, Joy (humour), Anger, Sadness, Pride, Fear, Aversion, and Wonder. Indian drama in English was introduced and came in practice after the arrival of British in India. The first play in English entitled “Is This Civilization?” was written in 1871 by Michael Madhusudan Dutta. In 1970s, a new trend came forward in English plays in India which changed its face i.e. translation. It got huge success for its bold innovations and fruitful experiments in terms of both thematic concerns and technical virtuosity within no time. Badal Sircar, Vijay Tendulkar, Girish Karnad, Mahash Dattani are the prominent representatives of the Contemporary Indian drama not only in Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, and Kannada but also on the pan Indian level. Now a day, Indian drama written in English by Indian playwrights makes extensive use of tradition, myths, legends and folklore. Girish Karnad is a major dramatist who has significantly gone back to the roots of Indian myth, tradition and culture and has re-created for us the rich and vibrant picture of Indian society, culture and its people. In all his plays he genuinely portrays the Indian way of life with all its positive and negative aspects, its tradition and their relative contemporary importance and relation. He addresses the problematic Indian subjectivity by employing the devices of myth, folklore, legend and history. He uses these devices not to merely visit the past but also to rethink the present and to anticipate the future. The protagonists of his plays, Hayavadana and Nagamandala are faced with contemporary existential concerns. His Tughlaq and Tipu Sultan, similarly, are not just men from history but our contemporary figures. My paper concentrates on the orthodox reception of religion and associated rituals to it, they execute much violence on the basis of myth, history and tradition, and Bali becomes one such myth. It also tries to analyse the reception of violence on ideological and physical level and tries to give a corrective stance to it in modern scenario. Myths are often distorted from one generation to the other and when that distortion becomes an ideology or ritual we don’t realize the main essence of it. In Bali: The Sacrifice he introduces a discourse on ‘violence’ to unsettle the moral complacency of societal orthodoxies by dramatizing the case of a Queen’s adultery and the subsequent chain of reactions. His plays always foreground human predicament and present different perspective to it. What gets examined in Bali-The Sacrifice is human action and related question raised is whether it should be judged by its intention or its explicit expression of ‘sin’ and ‘sacrifice’. The sacrifice of animals is often thought...
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