“Voice of Imprisoned Woman” in Girish Karnard’s “Nagmandala” Ms. Seema Sharma, Research Scholar
Girish Karnad austmerely scrutinizes the unvoiced mental and physical pain of a woman whose conscious and unconscious mind is conditioned so completely that she sees herself and the world around her only in a way man would like her to see through the play “Nagmandala”. Starting from the ancient to the modern era, woman is just like clay in the hands of the patriarchal society. The work of woman be underpaid, she is being demolished and her grief is unheard and is caged in the shackles of the four walls of the male dominant society. Whether it is house or any working place this fragmentary flower is not allowed to blossom as per her wish. Her desires are viciously walled in social conventions. For Indian Society, marriage is a social convention that makes a woman complete. For her home is said to be an expression of her freedom: it is her domain. The impediments in her life being misjudged and her voice and grief being restrained, she revolves in the squall of her problems. Karnad closely dissects the unaccepted condition of woman where she has no choice but to accept the pain of loneliness. It avails to rise up the question so as to why she is thrown in the gloom and doom of this vicious hand and portrays the overall image of a caged woman taking Rani as its core.
“Old is gold” the coinage of this clause clearly depicts the picture of the artistic ornaments in each and every sphere of literature starting from Shakespeare to Shaw. A playwright, poet, actor, director, critic, translator and cultural administrator; a man who has been rightly called the “renaissance man”; whose celebrity is based on decades of prolific and consistent output on native soil, belongs to a generation that has produced Dharamveer Bharati, Mohan Rakesh and Vijay Tendulker who have created a national theatre for modern India is Girish Karnad. His compulsive return to and reinterpretation of mythical and oral tradition and his determined demystification of his dominant beliefs and practices drew him to be the most significant playwright of the post- independence Indian literature. Considerably influenced by Shakespeare and naturalistic drama of Henrik Ibsen, he acknowledged India of the Fifties and Sixties that surfaced two streams of thought in all walks of life—adoption of new modernistic techniques, a legacy of the colonial rule and adherence to the rich cultural past of the country. Foregrounding the ornate magnetism of the past he says: “If Indian English drama wishes to go ahead, it must go back first, that is, only a purposeful return to its own roots in the rich tradition of ancient Indian drama, both in Sanskrit and folk drama in Prakrits, can help it shed its lean and pale look, and increase its artistic hemoglobin count, and make it cease to be the ‘sick man’ of Indian English Literature.” With artistic framework of myth and folklore, the play comes with the fact that although society seems to uphold traditional values, it also has the right of questioning these values. By making Rani almost a pure embodiment of feminine simplicity, innocence, and powerlessness, the play closely depicts the inner pain of an unvoiced woman whom the social conventions have forcefully locked in the four walls. Marriage for her becomes loss of the secure world of childhood and parental love, and she has to reimagine that world in her fantasies merely to keep herself from psychic collapse. As an ill tempered tyrannical, two-dimensional husband, Appanna rapidly reduces her daily life to a featureless existence without companionship or community. Rani’s latent power as a wife and mother also remains unrealized. In the shackles of social conventions and bitterness she gets habituated to act like a doll. Rani, if translated in English is termed as “Queen” dominant power but all of a sudden she is thrashed in the tears and fears of...
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