Tagore as a Dramatist: Transcending Boundaries
The Nobel Laureate, who denounced the title, was the first oriental dramatist to have initiated the postcolonial waves of reawakening through his literary writings based on the concept of “Indianness.” Thematically based on India and the storyline developing in truly Indian settings, the stories act as mirror to Indian society sometimes criticising the drawbacks and at other times flaunting the inherent goodness emanating through our rich cultural heritage.
Yes, his writings transcend borders. With its universal tone, readers all over do empathise with his themes and sympathise with his characters. The minute delicacy with which the story is narrated in his dramas make the readers dwell in his world of creation with complete surrender to the work. His oriental approach does not deter the western readers but lure them into a world of ‘willing suspension of disbelief’ where they are completely enchanted through his creative art.
At twenty, he wrote his first drama-opera Valmiki Pratibha (The Genius of Valmiki). In it the Pandit Valmiki overcomes his sins, is blessed by Saraswati, and compiles the Rāmāyana.[Another play, written in 1912, Dak Ghar (The Post Office), describes the child Amal defying his stuffy and puerile confines by ultimately "falling asleep," hinting his physical death. A story with borderless appeal—gleaning rave reviews in Europe—Dak Ghar dealt with death as, in Tagore's words, "spiritual freedom" from "the world of hoarded wealth and certified creeds. In 1890, he released what is regarded as his finest drama: Visarjan (Sacrifice). "A forthright denunciation of meaningless and cruel superstitious rites," (Ayyub 48) the Bengali originals feature intricate subplots and prolonged monologues that give play to historical events in seventeenth-century Udaipur. In Raktakarabi ("Red" or "Blood Oleanders"), akleptocrat King rules over the residents of Yakshapuri. He and his retainers exploit his subjects—who are benumbed by alcohol and numbered like inventory—by forcing them to mine gold for him. The naive maiden-heroine Nandini rallies her subject-compatriots to defeat the greed of the Sardar class—with the morally roused King's belated help.Chitrangada, Chandalika, and Shyama are other key plays that have dance-drama adaptations.
Based on myth mingles with social customs and political intrigues, the plays cover a broad area of human behaviour and mannerism, though Indian but engulfing humanity in general. The paper aims at taking a dive into Tagore’s world and selecting the pearls of wisdom which are universally acceptable, applicable and appreciable.
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