Professor Sridhar Rajeswaran, University of Mumbai, who has been invited as a Visiting Professor will deliver his 2nd lecture on “My talk entitled Girish Karnad : Beginnings, Ends and New Beginnings ” on 10 May 2016 from 3.00 to 5.00 p.m. in the Seminar Room of the Institute.
Karnad’s importance to Indian Drama is a given. It is significant as he occupies a unique niche in the world of Indian Theatre. This is because, prior to him, or after him for that matter, especially in Postcolonial India, there is no dramatist writing in Kannada and in English, with his kind of hybrid mix, writing the nation with concerns of class, caste and gender, housed within an ever evolving consciousness which he contains in an art that punishes.
Yayati was his first foray into the world of drama which was followed by Tughlaq. Though there was no conscious attempt by him to privilege Tughlaq over Yayati, the play that was a “spectacular failure” was the one that actually marked his presence. This was the play, ‘Announcing as it did, a national theme and a dramatic determination to write and sing the nation’ , that also consequently announced, a dramatist of seriousness, a national dramatist, whose obsession with his art and the making of it expressed his commitment and passion to re-imagining and inventing the nation. The disappointment with Nehruvian political policies, as the author himself has acknowledged marks a movement away from similar “heart mysteries” epitomised by a Yayati, which too haunted Karnad then and as his later plays testify, continues to do so now and perhaps will all his life.
Land and lady constitute a consistent refrain in Karnad’s work too like that of Yeats as he cartographs the nation on the body of a woman and by deflection spells the reason for my interlinking it to my first talk. Aware of the fact that the present and the past need to constellate Karnad delved deep in to the past as well as rubbed knuckles against the grain of his immediate present for sources. We see thus as claimed in different places and different times, by himself, the friendly shadows of Anouilh, Camus, Sartre, Brecht, Ananthamurthy, Anada Coomaraswami, Shivaram Karanth and certain secret others circling, criss-crossing in myriad ways, now living life anew from the open pages of his plays, that have been many times read, seen, and viewed as moving frames painted with light.
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