Who Is the Indian Shakespeare?

Powerful Essays
Who Is the Indian Shakespeare? 1

Who Is the Indian Shakespeare? Appropriation of Authority in a Sanskrit A Midsummer Night’s Dream

David V. Mason University of Wisconsin-Madison Published in New Literary History 34:2 (Fall, 2003)

David Mason 814C Eagle Heights Madison, WI 53705 (608) 238-1342 dvmason@facstaff.wisc.edu

Who Is the Indian Shakespeare? 2

“Do you know who is the Indian Shakespeare?” Late in 1994, I was on my way from Rishikesh to Mussoorie. In India studying Sanskrit, I thought I would visit the nearby hill station over a weekend, and when the man across the aisle saw my Sanskrit textbook , he began a conversation which moved very quickly from Sanskrit to English literature. He was himself a student, completing a B.A. in English, and he was curious to have my thoughts on such things as the best living novelist in English. He was much my superior on this subject, and at a lull in the conversation, perhaps perceiving that I was at a loss to name the author of “The Windhover,” he asked if I knew the Indian Shakespeare. Considering the extent to which Shakespeare settled in India from colonial performances in the very early days of the Raj to dominating the Parsi stage early in the nineteenth century to becoming the ensign for mandatory English education after 1835, I thought the Indian Shakespeare might as well be Shakespeare. “Kalidasa,” he said. Since I had demonstrated a profound incompetency in English literature, I think it unlikely that my bus-mate was merely trying to supply a common frame of reference on the way to a new topic of conversation. “Who is the Indian Shakespeare?” is an expression of the lingering identity crisis of the literature of postcolonial India, an insecurity which both defers to authority by privileging Shakespeare as the alluring plenitude of the West and challenges authority through its vain answer: a figure who, it is implied, not only corresponds to Shakespeare in the South Asian context, but, perhaps, bests

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Eliot’s poem ‘To the Indians who Died in Africa’ is an interesting Eliot piece. It is not often you read a poem by Eliot which refrains from striking the grand pose. He tended to invoke the giant issues of human soul every time he penned a poem, except of course, when he wrote those cat poems. But this is a puzzlingly small-aimed poem. A bit advise not grand wisdom, I guess. That this poem in imbued in the war and empire atmosphere is obvious. What he has to say to the Indians is funnily passive,…

    • 725 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    shakespeare

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages

    England, William Shakespeare did not seem destined for greatness. He was not born into a family of nobility or significant wealth. He did not continue his formal education at university, nor did he come under the mentorship of a senior artist, nor did he marry into wealth or prestige. His talent as an actor seems to have been modest, since he is not known for starring roles. His success as a playwright depended in part upon royal patronage. Yet in spite of these limitations, Shakespeare is now the most…

    • 748 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Shakespeare

    • 2690 Words
    • 11 Pages

    Dr. J.F. van Dijkhuizen Literature 6B: Shakespeare: An introductory course 5 August 2011 How are relations between different ethnic groups represented in The Merchant of Venice and Othello? Now in the early twenty-first century we tend to associate racist attitudes as fallacious and inhuman. The Merchant of Venice and Othello can, therefore, present challenges to modern readers and audiences because, to a certain extent, Shakespeare presents relations between the different ethnic…

    • 2690 Words
    • 11 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Shakespeare

    • 2683 Words
    • 8 Pages

    How does Shakespeare Present Beatrice and Benedick's relationship as the 'reality' of love and Claudio and Hero's as merely the 'appearance' of it? The idea of love at first sight was popular in Shakespeare’s day. Romeo and Juliet, for instance, fall in love at first sight. Moreover, Claudio’s methods of courting Hero through other people would have been an accepted tactic among Elizabethan nobility. Shakespeare's drama mocks love and human courtliness between two couples who take very different…

    • 2683 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    shakespeare

    • 598 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Introduction- The relevance of Shakespeare and many other writers and artists who worked in previous eras is relevant to modern society . Many people argue that the enduring popularity of Shakespeare is a testimony to his relevance, and that additionally, he has made major contributions not only to the English language, but to the way in which people think and behave. Shakespeare has quite literally shaped society in many ways. From the linguistic point of view, it has definitely affected the…

    • 598 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Shakespeare

    • 1066 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Drama before Shakespeare’s Time Playwriting was somewhat different before Shakespeare wrote plays. Shakespeare’s plays are mostly about justice, love, jealousy, murder, mystery, and basically anything that involved in real life that anyone can relate. He basically wrote about any theme he felt necessary. But before he was born in England, most plays during one specific era were about only one or two specific themes. These plays were based on morality plays which were medieval plays based on biblical…

    • 1066 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    shakespeare

    • 3895 Words
    • 16 Pages

    WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: An overview of his life and works Submitted to :- Ms. JYOTI HERMIT Submitted by:- TANISHA GUPTA Course :- BJMC (ASCO) WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE : AN OVERVIEW OF HIS LIFE AND WORKS CHILDHOOD William Shakespeare was born on April 26, 1564. William Shakespeare was the…

    • 3895 Words
    • 16 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Shakespeare

    • 1924 Words
    • 6 Pages

    1. Contributions of William Shakespeare to English Literature William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's preeminent dramatist. His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several shorter poems. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright. William Shakespeare's influence extends from theatre…

    • 1924 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Shakespeare

    • 314 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Shakespeare We do not know much about Shakespeare’s life. He comes from the small provincial town Stratford that lies on the Avon. His father was a workman, and he was a member of the town council; and he was also the mayor of the town for three years. Shakespeare most likely went to Stratford Grammar School, which can still be seen in the town, however we do not know much about what he learned in school. In 1582, when he was 18 years old, he married Ann Hathaway who was 7-8 years older; she…

    • 314 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    Shakespeare

    • 9933 Words
    • 40 Pages

    William Shakespeare (April 23rd 1564 – April 23rd 1616) Little is known about ‘ the morning star’ of English literature . He was born on the 23rd of April 1564 in Stratfordupon-Avon as the son of a glove dealer. He studied for 5 years at Stratford grammar school ( as written in the village documents) . At the age of 18 he married Anne Hathaway and they had 3 children : a daughter , Susanna , and two twins (Hamnet and Judith). Hamnet died at the age of 11 .In 1585- at the age of 21- Shakespeare left…

    • 9933 Words
    • 40 Pages
    Powerful Essays