Tughlaq as Contemporary Play

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Tughlaq is not about historical character alone. The
so-called ‘mad’ Tughlaq comes fully alive on the stage
with all his plus and minus points, with his ideals and
shortcomings and his dreams and day dreams.
However, it has been regarded as a political allegory or
a contemporary play about a contemporary situation.
Though Karnad himself had not intended, it was struck
by the parallelism between reign of Tughlaq and
contemporary Indian history. Karnad himself said:
“What struck me absolutely about Tughlaq’s history
was that it was contemporary . The fact that here was
the most idealistic,the most intelligent king ever to
come on the throne of Delhi and one of the greatest
failures also.And within a span of twenty years this
tremendously capable man had gone to pieces.This
seemed to be both due to his idealism as well as the
shortcoming within him, such as his impatience, his
cruelty,his feeling that he had the only correct
answer.And I felt in early sixties India had also come
very far in the same direction-the
twenty-year period seemed to me very much a striking
parallel.”(Introduction p.VII)
At every step the play Tughlaq reflects the chaos,
disillusionment and corruption that followed The Nehru
era. Tughlaq also shows the happenings in India.
tughlaq ruled in the 14th century and Nehru in the 1950s
and 1960s.The play shows the shattering of ideals after
the death of Nehru and the frustration and corruption
that followed. Though the writer had not intended to be
a contemporary situation but a serious study of the play exposes a strong parallelism. The reign of Tughlaq and the rapid disintegration of his personality attract a
modern reader for Nehru too passed through such
phases and brought about frustration and corruption
through the nation. ‘Tughlaq’the character is used by
the author to reveal what is happening today. He thinks
that whatever he is doing ,is right and he is...
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