Friday, May 23, 2008

Vijay Tendulkar : The Other Side

Vijay Tendulkar took his last breath and all the Marathi newspapers were flooded with reactions by celebrities in different fields. No doubt, he was genius and deserved ‘Jnyanapeeth’ award for his overall performance. However, in the eye of a common spectator of Marathi drama like me, most of these reactions were too extreme and too overstated. Besides, there were a number of reactions from such celebrities who either were obliged to Tendulkar or were his friends or disciples or purely professionals and their reactions were not at all concerned with stage, Marathi drama or screenplays.

The relevant reactions were like
‘Tendulkar gave a new turn to the Marathi drama’
‘He was a revolutionary’
‘He brought pragmatism on the stage’
‘He presented cruel beast hidden in the human being’
‘He was ahead of time’
‘He shook hand with the truth’
‘He broke the frame’
so on and so forth. These reactions create some basic questions in my mind.

As many critics say, Varerkar gave a new turn to the Marathi drama. Then Vartak also gave, then Rangnekar, then off course Tendulkar and also Khanolkar. Meanwhile some turns were also given by Mayekar and both the Dalavis according to a few critics. Still I hear, Elkunchwar and Phansalkar are also doing something of the sort.
I really don’t understand what are these turns ? How do these turns differ from each other ? What’s the qualitative aspect of each turn ? And after so many such turns what’s the condition of the Marathi stage today ?

‘Tendulkar was a revolutionary and he brought pragmatism or realism on the Marathi stage.’
What kind of realism Tendulkar has brought ? Let us see the subjects of his dramas.
-Strained sexual relationship in ‘Madi’, ‘Bali’ ‘Gidhade’etc.
-Virgin Mother in ‘Shrimant’
-A ‘Keep’ in ‘Ajgar ani Gandharva’
-Two keeps in Sakharam Bainder
-A Sadistic Dalit who wants to take revenge of his upper-cast wife in 'Kanyadan'
-Pre-marriage affair, abortion etc. in ‘Shantata Court Chalu Ahe’
-Mass seduction, selling of daughter for obtaining a public post etc. in ‘Ghashiram’
-Homosexuality in 'Mitrachi Goshta'

In this way, all his famous dramas contain such weird subjects and weird scenes.
For Exp. In ‘Sakharam Binder’ all the main characters have no business other than drinking heavily, abusing, kicking, beating with belt and footwear. When Champa beats her ex-husband with her footwear, he keeps on coming to her and begging to hit him with footwear again and again.

What does it mean all ?
Its nothing but a kind of ‘Sadism-Masochism’ thing. According to psychiatrists every human has some suppressed sexual fetishes and fantasies like ‘foot fetish’, ‘role play’, ‘spanking or get spanked with shoes’, ‘cross dressing’ etc.
Hence, for a writer there is always a danger of expressing his personal fetishes knowingly or unknowingly into his works. In view of this, Tendulkar could not control himself, that is for sure.

‘Tendulkar presented beast in the human being.’
True, but he never presented Human being himself. He was always negative.
He believed in cunning, cruelty, devastation and tragedy but never believed in love, sacrifice, determination, courage, bravery, achievement and comedy. He posed human being as Destructive rather than Constructive. Needless to mention that this was against the real history of human being.

Considering the above, I conclude that Tendulkar was a genius with great word powers, presentation skill and a treasure of disputable subjects. However, he was neither a pioneer (like Kirloskar) nor a revolutionary (like Deval, Varerkar & Vartak.)
He was just a successful playwrite. Thats all.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Women and Power

As far as political power is concerned, it would be interesting to compare Men rulers against Women rulers.

First of all, let us examine a wrong conviction that women are not as cruel as men.
Science has proved that due to the basic difference in thickness of some Amygdala in brains, women are more sentimental and less rational than men. Resultantly, they mix up personal and political issues together and take revenge. However, most of the men rulers foresee the consequences and take decisions.
(To give an example, when Aurangzeb ordered his general Zulfikar khan to capture the fort Ginjee, Zulfikar khan privately allowed Chhatrapati Rajaram to escape. This was a reciprocal action because in the near past during a battle near Ginjee, Maratha warriors had captured Zulfikar Khan’s Zanana. Rajaram, however, immediately sent his enemy’s Zanana back to him with due care and respect. This proved to be a great diplomatic move in future.)

Now let us see examples of women rulers who happened to be cruel.
Queen Mary was King Henry (the 8th)’s daughter and successor. She put all her opponents in prison and burnt most of them alive. During the regime of Elizabeth 1st, so many people lost their lives in the cold war between Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scotland. At last Queen Mary was captured, imprisoned and ultimately killed by Elizabeth. Catherine of Russia killed her husband and Tzu Hsi of China killed all the claimants to the throne and grabbed the power. Sophia, the step sister of Peter the Great was also a ruthless killer.
Counter parts of all the above in India were Bayjabai Shinde, Tulsabai Holkar, the younger wife of the first Nizam of Hyderabad.

History has also proved that men can voluntarily give up the political power in their hands but women never. Bharat, Chanakya, Swami Vidyaranya, Mahatma Gandhi, Jayprakash Narayan etc. are the examples of those men who did not accept power although it was easily possible. Similarly, Bhagwan Buddha, Sir Thomas More, Chhatrapati Rajaram, Nelson Mandela etc. are the examples of those men who gave it up voluntarily. However, I can’t a recall a single name of such a woman. The only exception is of Sonia Gandhi who did not become Prime Minister even though it was just a question of her sweet will.

To the contrary, history has proved that the women power holders rule for longer time than men.
See for instance the duration of Queen Elizabeth First (45 years) & Second (55 ) and Victoria (65) of U.K., Tzu Hsi of China (47) and Catherine the Great of Russia(34). Also in England, Margaret Thatcher ruled continuously for 11 years and established a record in their history.
In India, Indira Gandhi would have easily surpassed Pandit Nehru if she was not killed. During the Maratha empire’s times, not a single Chhatrapati or Peshwa or Administrator like Nana Phadanvis was as fortunate as Ahilyabai Holkar to be alive to rule for 41 years. Presuming that men die early due to hardships and bad habits, it would still be interesting to study the reasons behind it.

One more difference between men and women rulers is that women rulers (at least in India) have hardly died on the battlefield. Rani Durgawati and Rani Laxmibai are the only exceptions.

(Extracted from ‘Mantarlela Itihas’ (Marathi) by Harshad Sarpotdar. Published by Deshmukh & Co, Pune.)