Jeema- Drama in Indian Writing in English

Velmani, N.. “Drama in Indian Writing in English: Tradition and Modernity”. Language in India: 13.6 (June 2013). 1-7. Web.

Indian Theatre has a long history. Natyashastra had played a major role in ancient Indian English Drama. Even the modern theatre, performing arts and movies applies the aesthetics of Natyashastra. Our Indian society shaped on the basis of that. The true theatre is the Theatre of Mind. Greek Theatre has started as ritual workshop of Dinoysius, while Indian Theatre kept alive Therukoothu, Yakshagana, Koodiyattam etc.. The impact of British contact is vital in the field of Indian Theatre. When British people has started to show their plays in India, then only the Parsis in India realized it as a profitable field which paved the way to the drama companies and all. Until the nineteenth century, the people had not to pay to watch plays. When the law, health and all such systems came to be based upon Western tradition, after colonialism Indian theatre also was influenced by Western tradition.

India considers Natyashastra as the Bible of Arts. In the modern era also we can see its impact but the influence of Westerners is also imperative. From this part we can trace the tradition of modern Indian drama which is borrowed its essentials from folk arts as well as western tradition.


Jeema- Whatever Happened to Modern Indian Theatre?

Paul, Rajinder. “Whatever happened to Modern Indian Theatre?”. India International Centre Quarterly 18.1(1991): 79-87. JSTOR. Web. 16 June 2016.

Indian English theatre had played a major role in bringing the usage of Hindi words in social circle, like “a loose kurta” and vice versa. In India the English plays that has shown in former times were Shakespeare and Shaw’s plays. English drama survived in India because of their “box-wallah” culture (good facilities). But Hindi drama suffered a lot. Then to the regional language playwrights in India had to write their plays in Hindi or translated to Hindi from the regional languages for the survival of Hindi drama.  The English translation of those plays reduced the appetite of some people who couldn’t understand the Hindi script. In the case of Bengali drama, the language problem was the least. Because it was given more importance to the music and acting than the dialogues. He depicts cinema as the enemy of drama.

In modern India, Indian plays were replaced by English translations of Indian plays or written in English by Indians. In ancient Indian drama portrayed their protagonist as the one who fails in their life and has no other choice rather than suicide. GirishKarnad, deals with mythical and religious stories in his plays. But he uses a certain way which is appealed to modern people also. In Yayati, a son sacrifices his life for his father. It’s a typical Indian concept for some of the people. But the way he portrayed is appealed to everyone. Vijay Tendulkar has dealt with women in the sympathetic manner. The author states, towards the conclusion that there were so many reasons for the rising of Indian English drama but the new technologies being the reasons for the ending of drama in India.

This article traces the features of ancient Indian Drama as well as modern ones’. But this article came into some conclusions about the characteristics of Indian drama, only with the help of two or three plays of those times.

Jeema-Changing Scenario of Indian English Drama

Sawant, Sidharth. “Changing Scenario of Indian English Drama”. Indian Stream Research Journal 4.1 (2011). Web. 9 June 2016.

The article traces the history as well as the contemporary relevance of Indian English drama. The Indian English Drama started its tradition from Sage Bharata’s Natyashastra (in Vedic Period). It was known as “Fifth Veda”. The author asserts that long before Westerners, Indians had started their tradition in drama. Aristotle’s Poetics and Sage Bharata’s Natyashastra were the two important works in the field of theatre.

“The combination called natya is a mixture of rasa, bhavas, vrittis, pravittis, sidhi, svaras, abhinayas, dharmic instruments, song and theatre house”.(Bharat Gupta: 86)

Sage Bharata’s dramatic art was followed by other writers like Kalidasa, Bhasa, Shudraka, Bhavabhuti and so on. Kalidasa was known as Shakespeare of India because of his famous work Shakuntala.

Until 15th century only Sanskrit plays were familiar to everyone which were shown in different states like Tamilnadu, Kerala, UP, Gujarat and Karnataka. Indian drama in English was introduced and came into practice after the arrival of British in India who set up English missionary schools for dual purpose: Preaching Christian religion and creating employees for British government. This essay asserts that drama is the only art which is capable of total involvement with a lasting impact. In the beginning of Indian English drama, the themes were mythological, historical, religious (plays of Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, Harindranath Chattopadhyaya, T.P. Kailasam, Bharati Sarabhai and so on). In the modern era playwrights like Manjula Padmanabhan brought a new change through her play “Harvest”. But the plays of Girish Karnad and Mahesh Dattani are more popular. In the current scenario plays are being performed all over the world by the creative efforts of present Indian English playwrights.