Discuss themes and issues in Girish Karnad's Tughlaq. | …

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Nativism in Girish Karnad's Naga Mandal - Ghost …

Regarding the subject matter, Girish Karnad himself writes: “My subject was the life of Muhammad Tughlaq, a fourteenth century Sultan of Delhi, certainly the most brilliant individual ever to ascend the throne of Delhi and also one of the biggest failure. After a reign distinguished for policies that today seem far-sighted to the point of genius, but which in their day earned him the title “Muhammad the Mad” the Sultan ended his career in blood sheds and political chaos. In a sense, the play reflected the slow disillusionment my generation felt with the new politics of independent India, the gradual erosion of the ethical norms that had guided the movement for independence and the coming to terms with cynicism and real politik”(Karnad: 27).

The plays of Girish Karnad: A Study in Power Politics

Tughlag is Karnad’s first successful experiment and after Tughlag he has used his skill miraculously in translating history on the dramatic pages of Tele-Danda and The Dreams of Tipu Sultan. The Dreams of sultan differs from other two historical plays as it was first written in English and then was translated into Kannada. Tughlaq, the play for study was first written in Kannada in 1964 Girish Karnad was persuaded to translate it into English by Alyque Padamses. The play was an instant success on the stage. It was produced in Kannada in 1965 and was also done about the same time in Hindi by the national school of drama, Bengali and Marathi productions followed, and in 1970 there was an English production of it in Bombay. The dramatist has exploited almost all the techniques in making it a grand success on the stage. Ranjit Hoskote in ‘The free press journal’ comments; “tughlaq is a play about the inevitability of corruption…showing up tughlaq cruel side. The play is full of allusions, resonant with Shakespearean situations and Ibsenian modes. It combines a historical flavor with a contemporary relevance”(CP One: II). Tughlaq has become the classic of the contemporary age thought it highlights the Sultanate era of fourteenth century. But its universality makes it a text-book of present day relevance.

P. Bayapa Reddy has highlighted the specialized techniques employed by Girish Karnad in Tughlaq to uphold the theatrical effectiveness of the play for the spectators. He says: “Tughlaq experiments with a verity of theatrical techniques to create visual and auditory images, thereby producing the desired dramatic effect on the stage. By employing a variety of theatrical devices –spectacle, quick shift of scenes, blackout – he tries to control the movement of the play and its impact on he audience. Spectacle refers to all the visual aspects of production, scenery, costume, make-up and the business and the movement of the actor….the very appearance of Tughlaq in his striking costume adds a lot to the element of spectacle in the play” (Bayapa: 153).