Giristi Karnad was born in Malherun, CBI. Bornbay Hindu myth on the theme of responsibility GIRISH KARNAD. Tughlaq (), karmad's second play, thas. PDF | Girish Karnad's Tughlaq is a representation of one of the most important but nevertheless neglected periods of Download full-text PDF. ENGLISH PLAY BY GIRISH KARNAD. 4, Views. 1 Favorite. DOWNLOAD OPTIONS. download 1 file · ABBYY GZ download · download 1.

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Keywords: Tughlaq, Girish Karnad, Ain-ul-Mulk, Historical. from the facts of history, and even introduce new characters in the interest of dramatic effectiveness. - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online. article. Reading Girish Karnad's Tughlaq Author(s): Aparna Dharwadker Source: PMLA, Vol. While the particularobject of analysis here is a play, my analysis of the. Girish Karnad's first English play, Tughlaq (), is a historical play. It will be of . Karnad's characters Aziz and Aazam represent the public officer of Indian.

In the colonial period the satiric mode is practiced by British modernizers and Indian reformists, and the heroic mode by European culturalrelativists and Indian nationalists. In both modes of representation, however, the discourse of the European outsider is directed at the native other, whereas the discourse of the Indian insider is largely self-reflexive.

In postcolonial times, as the outsiderwithdrawsfrom directpolitical control This content downloaded from This interaction of discursive modes is especially relevantto a historicalplay like Tughlaq,because "history" is central to the dialectic in both the colonial and the postcolonial periods.

As Ronald Inden suggests, these texts present the traditions of oriental civilizations as "irrationalmalformations"in order to justify "theremoval of humanagency from the autonomous Othersof the East and [its placement]in the hands of the scholars and leaders of the West" "Orientalist Constructions" The works of Indian culturalnationalists, in contrast, attemptto rediscover in history the ideal narratives with which to supplant the colonists' denigratory accounts and mobilize cultural opposition to British colonial dominance.

The nationalistcounteroffensive against orientalistreductionsof Indianhistory and culture is most intense between about and and produces philosophical and polemical as well as literary texts.

It includes, for instance, the English-languagelecturesand essays of Swami Vivekananda, which assert the power of Hindu "spiritualism" as embodied in Vedic texts and Vedanticphilosophy to resist Western"materialism"; Bal GangadharTilak's commentary on the BhagavadGita in Marathi,which advocatesthe ideals of practical action and spiritual discipline embodied in an ancient epic warriorhero; and the historical plays of Jaishankar Prasad in Hindi, which portray the reign of the seventh-century Hindu emperor Harshavardhanaas the apex of India's greatness.

The end of colonialism naturallyintensifies this interest in history by giving the new nation's "free" citizens the opportunity to repossess their past. The continued dialectic of heroic and satiric modes in postindependence Indian writing, however, precludes a unilateral appropriationof history. A sizable literature of nationalism, national integration,and nation worship desh-bhakti creates and sustains a view of the past very similar to that of the earlier cultural nationalists.

To adapt a comment by Doris Sommer, this literature fills "the epistemological gaps [in] the non-science of history," gives legitimacy to the new nation, and directs its history towardsa "futureideal" At the same time, a multilingual, multigeneric body of modernIndianwriting-represented metonymically by Tughlaq-draws on history and myth as narrative sources precisely to reappraise and deidealize the past.

Such skeptical, often cynical reflexivity undermines heroic nationalist and neonationalist constructions of history and urges the culture as a whole to revise and modernize its self-perceptions Dimock et al. The third level of engagement with history in Tughlaqis linked to the second: Karnad'sironies may appearto replicate the satiric stance of orientalist texts, but their effect is to problematize, not to perpetuate, the received history of Tughlaq. The play presents a protagonist whom medieval Muslim and nineteenth-century British orientalist historiographershave constructedas an exceptionally intelligent yet incapable ruler, as the antithesis, in fact, of legendary "Easternemperors" like Marlowe's Tamburlaine and Dryden's Aureng-Zebe.

Karnad revives the paradoxical Tughlaqof history and occasionally constructshis dialogue verbatimfrom historical documents,creating a complex ideological and intertextualconnection between history, historiography, and his own fiction.

The text of the play urges the reader particularly the contemporary Indian reader to scrutinize the premodernand colonial institutions that have recorded, transmitted,and appropriated the history of Tughlaq and to question institutionalized history as a source of knowledge.

In Western conceptions of historical drama, the synchronic force of parallels seems to depend on a sense of "the continuity between past and calls a "cenpresent,"which HerbertLindenberger tral assumption in history plays of all times and styles.

Tughlaq A Play In Thirteen Scenes

This criterion cannot be universal, however, because in the Indiancontext "the audience's knowledge" of history is both discontinuousand heavily mediated. Lindenberger's position also does not stress sufficiently that an audience or interpretive community possesses both knowledge of and attitudes towardhistory that change over time, so that the meaning of a parallel is accretive as well as open-ended. At a particularhistorical moment this meaning depends collectively on the author's manipulation of history; the audience's knowledge, expectations, and interpretiveinclinations;and the larger sociopolitical situation that contains author, text, and audience.

Tughlaq is resonant as a historical parallel because it incorporates the problemsof historicaldiscontinuity and mediation yet creates a convincing synchrony between premodernand contemporary India. Its social and political applicationshave also evolved over the past three decades as postindependence Indian politics have taken unpredictable directions. For the audience of the s, Karnad's play expressed the disenchantment and cynicism that attended the end of the Nehru era in Indian politics.

A decade later, the play appeared to be an uncannily accurate porand opportrayal of the brilliant but authoritarian tunistic political style of Nehru's daughter and successor, IndiraGandhi. Now yet anotherfifteen or so years later Tughlaq seems concerned less with specific figures than with two general political issues that have become dominantin the public sphere.


The first is the untenabilityof the idealistic and visionary politics that Nehru and Mahatma Gandhipracticedas nationalleaders and valorized in their respective meditations on political action-The Discovery of India and The Story of My Experimentswith Truth. The second is the politics of power relations between groups that are separatedby religious or racial difference, in a society that is poised between secular and fundamentalist ideologies.

Whereas Homi K. Bhabha speaks of a movement from "the problematic unity of the nation to the articulationof culturaldifference in the construction of an internationalperspective" 5 , Tughlaqgrounds the problematic unity of the nation in historically inheritedpluralities of religion and community that thwartthe construction even of a national perspective. The context of an emergent but precarious twentieth-century Indian nationhood is thus an effective point of convergence for past and present experience in Karnad'spostcolonial fiction.

The Historical Intertexts of Tughlaq The "history" of Muhammad bin Tughlaq is the product primarily of medieval Muslim and colonial British traditions of historiography, whose modes of ideological implication have only recently begun to be scrutinized.


Peter Hardyidentifies two levels of mediationin the institutionalized historiographyof medieval India, one characteristic of the medieval Muslim historians,the other of nineteenth- and twentieth-centuryorientalists.

In the Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi, for instance,Baranidefines history as a source of instructive examples that promote virtue and discourage vice but, more significantly,as a form of knowledge essential for the salient aspects of Islam: the life understanding of the Prophet, Islamic tradition hadith , and the acts of Islamic rulers. Barani's overall purpose, as Hardy comments, is "to educate Muslim sultans, This content downloaded from Of the eight sultans whom Barani judges according to these principles covering the political history of the Delhi sultanatefrom to , Tughlaq is by far the most unsatisfactory.

After noting briefly Tughlaq's accomplishments in the politically useless arts of calligraphy,metaphor, poetry, and science, Barani focuses on two major signs of the ruler'spolitical failure:a series of misthat "effectedthe ruin of the Sulguided "projects" tan's empire, and the decay of the people," and a series of rebellions in the provinces that indicated that "the minds of all men, high and low, were disgusted with their ruler" These judgments may have been in part politically expedient, since the Tarikhappeared several years after Muhammad Tughlaq'sdeath,duringthe reign of his orthodox, "ideally"Islamic successor Firoz Shah ruled But the religious grounds for Barani's position are unambiguous:Tughlaqis a repugnant subject who disregarded the Qur'an in dealing with both the faithful and the faithless and attempted to limit Islam's influence in the political andjudicial processes.

Tughlaq'sindiscriminatecruelty,explained as a result of his lack of religion, therefore becomes a central concern in the Tarikh. Early in the work Baranicomplainsthat the dogmasof philosophers, whichareproductive of indifference andhardness of heart, hada powerful influenceover him. But the declarations of the holy of the Prophets, whichinbooks,andthe utterances culcatebenevolenceandhumilityandhold out the of future werenotdeemed worprospect punishment, Thepunishment of Musulmans, and thy of attention.

Not a day or week passed stroyedthe flourishingIslamic capital of Delhi and cost thousands of Muslim lives.

Most of the uprooted population died during the long journey; those who arrived "could not endure the pain of exile. Similarly, the introduction of copper currency in itself a progressive move "increasedthe daring and arroganceof the disaffected in Hindustan,and augmentedthe pride and prosperity of all the Hindus," because Tughthe house of every Hindu into a laq's edict "turned mint, and the Hindus of the various provinces coined crors [crores] and lacs [lakhs] of copper coins" ; a lakh is a hundredthousandunits of currency;a croreis ten million units.

Surprisingly, Peter Hardy is the first modern historian to argue on the basis of such evidence that Barani's religious orthodoxy shaped his "history,"especially since Barani belonged to the class of ulema Islamic scholars whose political role Tughlaq attempted to curb.

More recently, K. Chaudhuri has agreedthatBaraniwas "stronglycriticalof any public policy not in harmonywith the religious traditions of Islam" In short,Baranideliberately selects materialthat portraysTughlaq as a foolish apostate who ruined his empire by pursuing the wrong beliefs and following the wrong advice Hardy At the second level of mediation,orientalisthistorians treat the turmoil of Islamic rule in India teleologically, as a sign of the necessity and superiority of British colonial rule.

The classic statement of this position is the prefaceto the Bibliographical Index to the Historians of MuhammedanIndia, a four-volume "guide" to premodernhistorical accounts compiled by the colonial administrator HenryElliot.

In this perspective the move to Deogir was disastrous because it de- sensibleof theimmense to them advantages accruing under the mildness and equity of our rule.

We shouldno longerhearbombastic Baboos,enjoying under ourGovernment thehighestdegreeof personal andmanymorepolitical thanwere liberty, privileges everconcededto a conquered nation,rantaboutpatriotism andthe degradation of theirpresent position.

This content downloaded from The acts of cruelty that Barani attacks as unIslamic Elliot views as confirmations of the absolute supremacyof Westernover Easternpolitical institutions-a supremacythat rendersthe pseudorepublican aspirationsof English-educatednative baboos ridiculousat best. After the mid-nineteenthcenturyorientalisthistorians who write about medieval India thus draw on both Barani and Elliot to cast Tughlaq as the brilliant but unprincipledoriental despot.

MountstuartElphinstone acknowledges Tughlaq as "one of the wonders of the age" but ascribes to him a "perversion of judgment which. Vincent Smith finds it "astonishing that such a monster should have retained power for twenty-six years, and then have died in his bed" OxfordHistory Stanley Lane-Poole sees in Tughlaq's career the tragedy of a man of ideas whose "greatmistake-a capital errorin an eastern country-was that he could not let well or ill alone.

Christianityand Westernconceptions of monarchy would presumably have developed Tughlaq's moral sense along with his intellect, but in the absence of these civilizing influences he surrendered to tyrannyand madness.

Since independence,Muslim historiansin India have presented a stronger form of Hardy's argument about Britain's appropriation of medieval India and have charged the orientalistswith a systematic misconstructionof pre-MughalIndianhistory for imperialist ends. Nizami comments that in presentingthe historical literatureof medieval India Elliot "blackenedthe Indianpast to glo- rify the British present and used medieval Indian history as an instrumentfor the implementationof the formula, 'counterpoiseof Indians against Indians,'" evolved by the British Army Commission The problem, as Nizami points out, is that Elliot's work has been "thebasis of countless textbooks on Indianhistory,and the virus so imperceptibly injected by Elliot has dangerously affected the ideology of threegenerations" The ideological resistance to orientalist positions, which marksthe move toward a revisionary history of medieval India, is increasingly evident in the work of Indian historians.

Romila Thapar comments in her History of India that the era of Islamic conquest, far from being "the darkage," is a "formativeperiod which rewardsdetailed study, since many institutionsof present-dayIndia began to take enduring shape during this period" 1: Chaudhuridescribes Tughlaq's experiment with token currencyas a serious innovation, anticipating by half a century the introduction of papercurrencyin China Siddiqui use extensive documentaryevidence to discuss neglected subjects like the formation of the ruling class in the thirteenth century and social mobility in the Delhi sultanate.

This historiographicinitiative must be recognized as partof the culturalcontext of Tughlaq,since the object of reis the same in the play. As visionary interpretation I show in the following sections, the play intervenes actively in the controversyby presentingan explanatorypsychological profile of its enigmatic hero and by thematizing the issues of culturaldifference inherentin the historicaldebate. Tughlaq and Modern Indian Models of Political Action Karnad,in his occasional comments on Tughlaq, stresses the "contemporaneity"of the play's history-that is, the resemblanceto particularphases in the political experience of postcolonial Indiawhile maintaining thatthe play is not an allegoryof any one political figure or event.

In a interview, he remarks that the twenty-year period of to the Tughlaq'sdecline offereda "striking parallel" This content downloaded from Yet the play was not meant to be either an "obviouscommenton Nehru"or an "exactparallel" of the present.

In a essay on Indian theater Karnadobserves, again in the context of Tughlaq, that the most interesting feature of the politics of the s was "the way the newly enfranchised electoratewas slowly becoming awareof the power placed in its hands for the firsttime in history.

The other equally visible movement was the gradual displacement of pre-independence idealism by hard-nosed political cynicism" "Theatre" In the course of thirtyyears, however, the play's narrative emphaseshave shifted significantlyto accommodate the evolution of Indian postcolonialism, which has now approached a condition of pervasive crisis while still retaining-almost inexplicably-its constitutive democratic features. Westernpolitical comparatists describeIndiaas the "firstgreatpost-colonialstate" Lyon , as a country whose postindependence regimes have derived their political legitimacy from "a long-standing heritage of overarching political authority" Low , as a pluralistic society that is exemplary in the Commonwealth Third World because it has ethnic rivalry Mayall and successfully "contained" and as a tenacious Payne 9 , democracythathas remained a multipartystate while most postcolonial nations in Africa, for instance, have turned into militaryregimes or one-partystates Low Assessments of currentIndianpolitics, in contrast, emphasizea "steadyweakeningof well-established institutions and the increased mobilization of diverse political groups,"neither of which tendency "augur[s] well for long-term stability" Kohli, to MinorityRule" The suspensionof "Majority democratic processes during the national emergency of June to March , the violent Sikh and Muslim separatist movements in the northernstates of Punjaband Kashmir continuous and unresolvedsince the late s , the assassinations of IndiraGandhi October and her son Rajiv Gandhi May , and the brutal confrontations over religious and communal issues especially since are key stages in the sociopolitical decline that has brought about India's "crisis of governability" Kohli, Democracy.

Enmeshed in this experience, Tughlaq now invokes not merely the loss of political innocence in the of the largerpolitical s but the gradualattrition and cultural processes that created the "imagined community" of India as an independent nation in the mid-twentiethcentury.

At one importantlevel, then, the play acts out a polaritythathas fundamentallyshapedmoder political consciousness in India: the distinction between politics as the selfless extension of individual spirituality Mahatma Gandhi and vision Nehru and politics as the self-serving, sometimes demonic expression of individual fantasies of power evidencedin IndiraGandhi,SanjayGandhi, and, more recently, Sikh, Muslim, and Hindu fundamentalistleaders.

These two models of political action in turnimply radicallydifferentrelationsbetween leaders and citizens, but by embodyingboth impulses within Tughlaq, Karnadalso suggests a radical identity between them. At another level, Tughlaq offers an ironic, clearly prophetic commentary on the ideology of secularism and the forces that subvert that ideology. The "idea of India"as an assimilative,tolerant,multiformpolitical entity was centralto the nationalistthinkingthat emerged under the leadership of Gandhi, Nehru, Abul KalamAzad, and othersduringthe s and s.

The demandfor a separatePakistanundercut this idea tragicallyand led to the traumaof partition in The fundamentalist and secessionist movements of the last fifteen or so years have severely tested the concept of a pluralistic,secularsociety in India.

In this situation, Karnad'sportrayal of how differentreligious groups coexist, and how they respond to the idea of equality, has acquired new urgency. One of Tughlaq's subjects remarksthat Tughlaq is a king who "isn'tafraidto be human,"while anotherwon- This content downloaded from Tughlaq has shocked his subjects-Hindu and Muslim alike-by abolishing thejiziya, a discriminatory poll tax on Hindus prescribedin the Qur'anfor nonbelievers,and by institutinga judicial process in which he can be sued by his subjects.

The humilityand self-questioningnecessary for such public confessions of errorare fundamentalto Gandhi'spoliticalpractice. Introduction: A historical play seems to be a contradiction in terms. History requires truth to the events of the past, but art require imagination and concentration on needs of art.

In other words that the writer of a historical play, must use the facts of history with discretion to suit the needs of his drama while maintaining overall truth to history.

He has to deviate from the facts of history, and even introduce new characters in the interest of dramatic effectiveness. This is what Karnad has also done in the present play. Girish Karnad closely follows historical sources in this respect. It is based on the life and history Muhammad Tughlaq who ruled over quite a large part of India with Delhi as its capital in the beginning.

But historical facts alone are not enough to make a story a work of literature.

Only historical facts alone are not enough to make a play interesting and history requires truth to the events of the past. Art requires imagination.

In other words, a writer of a historical play enacts the structure of his drama on some facts of history but along with this he uses the fact according the need of his drama. Sometimes he deviates from the facts of history. He sketches him as an embodiment of idealism, scholarship and Hindu-Muslim unity. In the first scene of the play Tughlaq is depicted as a generous Sultan.

Now he returns his land and also gives him five hundred silver coins as compensation. The Brahman is offered a post in the civil services so that he may have a regular and adequate income. In his opinion, the Sultan is being criticized by an infidel which is an insult to Islam. The young man defends the liberal attitude of the Sultan. He appreciates his devotion to Islam.

The young man says to the old man that now he prays five times a day because it has been made obligatory by the Sultan.

If he misses his prayer, he will be punished. He tells Sheikh Imamuddin, that it is difficult for him to get himself free from Greek influence. He says, I still remember the days when I read the Greeks- Sukrat who took poison so that he could give the world the drink of gods.

It ridicules the ironies of life through characters in Mahabharata. It became an instant success, immediately translated and staged in several other Indian languages.


His next was Tughlaq , about a rashly idealist 14th-century Sultan of Delhi , Muhammad bin Tughluq , and allegory on the Nehruvian era which started with ambitious idealism and ended up in disillusionment.

It was staged by the National School of Drama Repertory under the direction of Ebrahim Alkazi , with the actor Manohar Singh , playing the visionary king who later becomes disillusioned and turns bitter, amidst the historic Purana Qila in Delhi. Herein he employed the folk theatre form of Yakshagana. Naga-Mandala Play with Cobra, was based on a folk tale related to him by A. It was directed by J. Garland Wright, as part of the celebrations of the 30th anniversary of Guthrie Theatre, Minneapolis.

Though before it came Taledanda Death by Beheading, which used the backdrop, the rise of Veerashaivism , a radical protest and reform movement in 12th century Karnataka to bring out current issues. Ananthamurthy and directed by Pattabhirama Reddy.

Narayan 's books.The nationalistcounteroffensive against orientalistreductionsof Indianhistory and culture is most intense between about and and produces philosophical and polemical as well as literary texts.

I then show how the action of Tughlaqsequentiallyinvokes the most powerful modern Indian models of political action, those associated with leaders like MahatmaGandhi, JawaharlalNehru, and IndiraGandhi. Creative Books Nanded, The antiorientalistand subalterncritiqueof colonial and neocolonial historiography,however, largely elides the interpenetrationof "true" and "fictive"modes in historical writing.

A historical poem or play is textually complex and culturally vital precisely because its narrative originates in other often problematic narrativesand possesses meaning independentof specific topical contexts. The subaltern position thus relatesneocolonialist discourse in Britain to neonationalist discourse in India and impliIndianhistoriansin furthermisrepresentations cates postindependence of theirhistory.

The fundamentalist and secessionist movements of the last fifteen or so years have severely tested the concept of a pluralistic,secularsociety in India. This shows the liberal attitude of Sultan in case of religion.

At a particularhistorical moment this meaning depends collectively on the author's manipulation of history; the audience's knowledge, expectations, and interpretiveinclinations;and the larger sociopolitical situation that contains author, text, and audience.