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Swami Vivekanand

Vivekananda, original name Narendranath Datta, Datta also spelled Dutt, (born January 12, 1863, Calcutta [now Kolkata]—died July 4, 1902, near Calcutta), Hindu spiritual leader and reformer in India who attempted to combine Indian spirituality with Western material progress, maintaining that the two supplemented and complemented one another. His Absolute was a person’s own higher self; to labour for the benefit of humanity was the noblest endeavour.

Swami Vivekananda’s inspiring personality was well known both in India and in America during the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decade of the twentieth. The unknown monk of India suddenly leapt into fame at the Parliament of Religions held in Chicago in 1893, at which he represented Hinduism. His vast knowledge of Eastern and Western culture as well as his deep spiritual insight, fervid eloquence, brilliant conversation, broad human sympathy, colourful personality, and handsome figure made an irresistible appeal to the many types of Americans who came in contact with him. People who saw or heard Vivekananda even once still cherish his memory after a lapse of more than half a century.

In America Vivekananda’s mission was the interpretation of India’s spiritual culture, especially in its Vedantic setting. He also tried to enrich the religious consciousness of the Americans through the rational and humanistic teachings of the Vedanta philosophy. In America he became India’s spiritual ambassador and pleaded eloquently for better understanding between India and the New World in order to create a healthy synthesis of East and West, of religion and science.

In his own motherland Vivekananda is regarded as the patriot saint of modern India and an inspirer of her dormant national consciousness, To the Hindus he preached the ideal of a strength-giving and man-making religion. Service to man as the visible manifestation of the Godhead was the special form of worship he advocated for the Indians, devoted as they were to the rituals and myths of their ancient faith. Many political leaders of India have publicly acknowledged their indebtedness to Swami Vivekananda.

The Swami’s mission was both national and international. A lover of mankind, he strove to promote peace and human brotherhood on the spiritual foundation of the Vedantic Oneness of existence. A mystic of the highest order, Vivekananda had a direct and intuitive experience of Reality. He derived his ideas from that unfailing source of wisdom and often presented them in the soulstirring language of poetry.

The natural tendency of Vivekananda’s mind, like that of his Master, Ramakrishna, was to soar above the world and forget itself in contemplation of the Absolute. But another part of his personality bled at the sight of human suffering in East and West alike. It might appear that his mind seldom found a point of rest in its oscillation between contemplation of God and service to man. Be that as it may, he chose, in obedience to a higher call, service to man as his mission on earth; and this choice has endeared him to people in the West, Americans in particular.

In the course of a short life of thirty-nine years (1863-1902), of which only ten were devoted to public activities-and those, too, in the midst of acute physical suffering-he left for posterity his four classics: Jnana-Yoga, Bhakti-Yoga, Karma-Yoga, and Raja-Yoga, all of which are outstanding treatises on Hindu philosophy. In addition, he delivered innumerable lectures, wrote inspired letters in his own hand to his many friends and disciples, composed numerous poems, and acted as spiritual guide to the many seekers, who came to him for instruction. He also organized the Ramakrishna Order of monks, which is the most outstanding religious organization of modern India. It is devoted to the propagation of the Hindu spiritual culture not only in the Swami’s native land, but also in America and in other parts of the world.

Swami Vivekananda once spoke of himself as a “condensed India.” His life and teachings are of inestimable value to the West for an understanding of the mind of Asia. William James, the Harvard philosopher, called the Swami the “paragon of Vedantists.” Max Muller and Paul Deussen, the famous Orientalists of the nineteenth century, held him in genuine respect and affection. “His words,” writes Romain Rolland, “are great music, phrases in the style of Beethoven, stirring rhythms like the march of Handel choruses. I cannot touch these sayings of his, scattered as they are through the pages of books, at thirty years’ distance, without receiving a thrill through my body like an electric shock. And what shocks, what transports, must have been produced when in burning words they issued from the lips of the hero!”

Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was the youngest son of Debendranath Tagore, a leader of the Brahmo Samaj, which was a new religious sect in nineteenth-century Bengal and which attempted a revival of the ultimate monistic basis of Hinduism as laid down in the Upanishads. He was educated at home; and although at seventeen he was sent to England for formal schooling, he did not finish his studies there. In his mature years, in addition to his many-sided literary activities, he managed the family estates, a project which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He also started an experimental school at Shantiniketan where he tried his Upanishadic ideals of education. From time to time he participated in the Indian nationalist movement, though in his own non-sentimental and visionary way; and Gandhi, the political father of modern India, was his devoted friend. Tagore was knighted by the ruling British Government in 1915, but within a few years he resigned the honour as a protest against British policies in India.

Tagore had early success as a writer in his native Bengal. With his translations of some of his poems he became rapidly known in the West. In fact his fame attained a luminous height, taking him across continents on lecture tours and tours of friendship. For the world he became the voice of India’s spiritual heritage; and for India, especially for Bengal, he became a great living institution.

In 1884, Tagore wrote a collection of poems Kori-o-Kamal (Sharp and Flats). He also wrote dramas – Raja-o-Rani ( King and Queen) and Visarjan (Sacrifice). In 1890, Rabindranath Tagore moved to Shilaidaha (now in Bangladesh) to look after the family estate. Between 1893 and 1900 Tagore wrote seven volumes of poetry, which included Sonar Tari (The Golden Boat) and Khanika. In 1901, Rabindranath Tagore became the editor of the magazine Bangadarshan. He Established Bolpur Bramhacharyaashram at Shantiniketan, a school based on the pattern of old Indian Ashrama. In 1902, his wife Mrinalini died. Tagore composed Smaran ( In Memoriam ), a collection of poems, dedicated to his wife.

In 1905, Lord Curzon decided to divide Bengal into two parts. Rabindranath Tagore strongly protested against this decision. Tagore wrote a number of national songs and attended protest meetings. He introduced the Rakhibandhan ceremony , symbolizing the underlying unity of undivided Bengal.

In 1909, Rabindranath Tagore started writing Gitanjali. In 1912, Tagore went to Europe for the second time. On the journey to London he translated some of his poems/songs from Gitanjali to English. He met William Rothenstein, a noted British painter, in London. Rothenstien was impressed by the poems, made copies and gave to Yeats and other English poets. Yeats was enthralled. He later wrote the introduction to Gitanjali when it was published in September 1912 in a limited edition by the India Society in London. Rabindranath Tagore was awarded Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913 for Gitanjali. In 1915 he was knighted by the British King George V.

In 1919, following the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, Tagore renounced his knighthood. He was a supporter of Gandhiji but he stayed out of politics. He was opposed to nationalism and militarism as a matter of principle, and instead promoted spiritual values and the creation of a new world culture founded in multi-culturalism, diversity and tolerance. Unable to gain ideological support to his views, he retired into relative solitude. Between the years 1916 and 1934 he traveled widely.

1n 1921, Rabindranath Tagore established Viswabharati University. He gave all his money from Nobel Prize and royalty money from his books to this University. Tagore was not only a creative genius, he was quite knowledgeable of Western culture, especially Western poetry and science too. Tagore had a good grasp of modern – post-Newtonian – physics, and was well able to hold his own in a debate with Einstein in 1930 on the newly emerging principles of quantum mechanics and chaos. His meetings and tape recorded conversations with his contemporaries such Albert Einstein and H.G. Wells, epitomize his brilliance.

In 1940 Oxford University arranged a special ceremony in Santiniketan and awarded Rabindranath Tagore with Doctorate Of Literature. Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore passed away on August 7, 1941 in his ancestral home in Calcutta.

little women

“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen.” 

-Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

In 1868, Louisa May Alcott was asked by her publisher to write a novel about girls that would be appealing to the masses. This was something new and challenging to her as she had spent all her life writing short stories. Also, she didn’t want to write a story from the female perspective as the only story she knew of was of her sisters. She was initially hesitant but chose to write the novel. Little did she know that her book would be an instant success and would still be read and admired by people centuries after her death.

Little Women was published in 1868 and recounts the story of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March. The book is loosely based off of Alcott’s own life, and many believe that she is the Jo March of her family. It is set in Massachusetts at the time of the American Civil War. On their first Christmas without their father, the March sisters and their mother, Marmee March, decided to give their Christmas breakfast away to an impoverished and starving family. When they returned, they found out that their neighbour, Mr Laurence had sent over a surprise breakfast. This leads to the two families getting closer to each other, and the March Sisters getting acquainted with Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, Mr Laurence’s nephew. 

One of the reasons why Little Women was an immediate success and remains relevant years after the author’s death is because of its realism and a perfect portrayal of sisterhood. The sisters are not particularly glamorous characters and lead ordinary lives, yet one likes them as they can relate to them. For example, when Jo refused to take young Amy to the theatre with Meg and Laurie, Amy burned down Jo’s manuscript, on which she had been working for ages. While this is not pretty to read, it is accurate as Amy was 12, and this is an accurate response from someone of her age. Her burning down of the manuscript led to Jo being extremely angry at her, and she vowed never to talk to her again. Yet, when Amy chased after Jo after feeling remorse, and almost died by falling through the thin ice at the river, Jo saved her and even made up with her. This shows that no matter how angry one is with their sibling, they still love them and would do anything for them.

Alcott also manages to perfectly capture the feeling of growing up and leaving your childhood innocence behind. Meg gets married and moves out, Jo rejects Laurie’s proposal and moves to New York to write, Beth becomes sick and eventually passes away, and Amy goes to Europe with her aunt where Laurie proposes to her after being rejected by Jo. Slowly they all leave their comfort zone behind and face the tribulations one faces when they become distant from family as they grow up. Yet, all the sisters reunite and show that their bond is stronger than ever.

Alcott gave her characters distinct and bold personalities and the women who read it at that time related to the March Sisters and felt the need to have more “public” identities and follow their ambitions. Alcott even planned to let Jo remain unmarried, but she eventually decided to get her married which lead to Jo abandoning her writing career, though Alcott remained unmarried all her life. This book has stayed relevant to date and is still beloved by the people. Generations of readers have fallen in love with this masterpiece. It is an extremely captivating story, one you won’t be able to put down.

Sudha Murthy

“How long can you keep birds in cages when their wings are strong and they are ready to fly? We can give our children only two things in life which are essential. Strong roots and powerful wings. Then they may fly anywhere and live independently. Of all the luxuries in life, the greatest luxury is getting freedom of the right kind.”

-Sudha Murthy

Sudha Murthy is one of India’s most beloved storytellers. Her work appeals to both children and young adults. Born in 1950, she became the first female engineer to be hired at the largest auto-manufacturer in India, TELCO. She has written not only novels, but also short stories, travelogues, technical books, and books for children. She has received several awards over the years, including the R.K. Narayana’s Award for Literature, and even the Padma Shri, which is the fourth highest civilian award in India.

She was born in Shiggaon, Haveri in Karnataka. Her family was extremely study-oriented and sought to educate her in a time where women’s education was not very common. She was a determined student, and never missed a day of class as she was aware of the rampant misogyny which was prevalent in India in the 70s,  and knew that no one would assist her if she missed classes. She never let anyone break her spirit or her love for education. She broke several societal barriers by pursuing Engineering and Computer Science and was even awarded a gold medal for both of her degrees by the Chief Minister of Karnataka. 

In 1974, Sudha Murthy planned to go abroad to pursue her doctorate, until she came across an advertisement put up by TELCO on the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, calling for young and hardworking engineers, and under the advertisement, it was written, ‘Lady candidates need not apply.’ This agitated her, and she wrote a strongly worded postcard to Tata, expressing her surprise over their gender discrimination. A few days later she received a telegram from JRD Tata and was granted a special interview. Soon the job was hers, and she made history by being the first female engineer to be hired at TELCO.

Sudha Murthy helped her husband N.R. Narayana Murthy build Infosys, which is an Indian MNC providing business consultation, information technology and outsourcing. In 1996 she started Infosys foundation and is its trustee till date. A nonprofit organisation, it aims to support the underprivileged sections of society. The foundation provides healthcare, education and promotes art and craft amongst the underprivileged. She is a philanthropist and has expressed her love for this country and passion to serve it several times. She also started the Library Project and has established 60,000 libraries to date.

One cannot talk about Sudha Murthy without mentioning her books. A prolific award-winning writer in both English and Kannada, her books have been translated in all major languages. Her books were simple, yet profound and can make you laugh, cry and feel nostalgic at the same time. She was raised by her parents and maternal grandparents, and drew inspiration from her experiences to write her first notable book, “How I Taught My Grandmother To Read and other stories.” Her other works include Grandma’s bag of stories, The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk, The Mother I Never Knew and many others. 

Sudha Murthy is an inspiration for every single woman in this country. Her work has continuously broken several barriers and improved society in every way it could. Her story is an extremely influential one.

The unattainable American Dream: The great gatsby

“He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

-Socrates

The American dream, a term coined by James Truslow Adams in his 1931 bestseller “Epic of America”, is the belief that anyone can achieve success if they work hard enough, regardless of their class or status. The dream of a land where life is better for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. However, as the years have passed the American dream has become more and more materialistic. Nowadays, people have impulsive and reckless habits, and they are never satisfied. No matter how much they have, they just keep aiming for more. This critique of the American dream was provided in F Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 classic, “The Great Gatsby”.

Set in the Roaring Twenties, a few years after the first World War, the book begins with the narrator, Nick Carraway, a Yale alumnus and a war veteran, arriving in New York City, and renting a bungalow in the West Egg. This bungalow was next to the luxurious estate of Jay Gatsby, a mysterious multimillionaire and war veteran. The 20s were an interesting time for America. The young were rebellious, jazz was gaining popularity and the economy was prospering. The way society was living was reckless, and Fitzgerald foreshadowed that disaster was bound to happen. Sure enough, in 1929 the infamous Wall Street Crash put a stop to the economic prosperity of America.

Getting back to the novel, Nick observed that Gatsby had stretched out his arm in the direction of a mysterious green light coming from the end of a dock, reaching for something far off. This conveys the idea that no matter how much people possess, they always want more. Gatsby was the personification of the unattainable American Dream. He came from nothing and built his way up into the high society, earning his wealth through crime. Yet, he was never satisfied with what he had and failed to realise how hollow and empty his dream had become. When his ex-lover Daisy, who had gotten married to Tom Buchanan when Gatsby was deployed overseas, told him that she loved him, Gatsby wasn’t satisfied. He still wanted her to say that she never loved her husband. He always desired more and projected his version of the perfect American dream onto Daisy. When Daisy couldn’t bear the weight of his never-ending desires, she chose to stay with Tom, and his inability to win her love shattered his dream. This moment also set the stage for the novel’s tragic ending.

In the book, Gatsby was known for throwing glamorous parties at his lavish mansion which everyone attended, regardless of whether they were invited or not. Each week he had thousands of guests over, but he never formed a bond with anyone of them. His only companion throughout the book was Nick, although it is argued that he was only friends with him to get to Daisy, Nick’s cousin. 

After his death, only a handful of people attended his funeral, including Nick. All his former acquaintances had disappeared, and Daisy and Tom had moved away. Fitzgerald conveyed that the American dream had made people selfish, and criticised the lifestyle of the Americans. Disappointed by the low attendance at the funeral, Nick decides to move away from New York. He also realises that both Tom and Daisy were destructive and selfish people. Thus, Fitzgerald perfectly illustrates the fact that the dream is unattainable, and that one should focus on non-material things which bring more joy than this impossible dream.

The Great Gatsby is regarded as one of the greatest novels of all time.

jane austen: The witty feminist

The year was 1787. Delegates were gathering up in Philadelphia to draw up the US constitution, Russia had declared war on Turkey, and an 11-year-old Jane Austen had just begun writing poems and stories for her family’s entertainment. Years later, somewhere around 1796, Austen wrote her first full-length novel, Elinor and Marianne, which was published in 1811 as Sense and Sensibility. The book was published anonymously, with the cover simply stating, ‘By a Lady’, and was well received. Little did she know how big her impact would be on the literary world, and how her legacy would be kept alive years after her death.

Jane Austen’s name and her work is still popular and influential, and known by many. Born in 1775, Austen remains a mysterious figure to the public. The primary reason for this being the burning of the many letters written by her, by her sister Cassandra. This was done to prevent any embarrassment because of the merciless and witty tone of her letters, though some fragments of those letters are still preserved. She was the seventh child in a family of eight. Austen had a near-death experience when she suffered from typhus when sent to Oxford. After her recovery, she was sent to a boarding school in Reading but returned due to the exorbitant fees which had to be paid, and never again left her immediate family environment.

In 1787, Austen began writing, mainly focusing on poems and stories. These were written purely for her and her family’s entertainment, and she had no intention of publishing them. It is estimated that she wrote 3 plays during her teen years. At the age of eighteen, Austen began working on Lady Susan, an epistolary novel written in the form of letters. This wasn’t published until 1871 and has been described as Austen’s most advanced early form of work. After finishing Lady Susan, Austen’s first full-length novel was written. It was initially written under the name Elinor and Marriane but was later changed to Sense and Sensibility. Though it was well-received, Austen’s best and most well-known book was Pride and Prejudice. Set in rural England in the early 19th century, it starts with one of the most iconic lines in literature, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” It has been cited as an influential text and is a beloved book in the eyes of readers and scholars, even 200 years after its publication.

Austen’s work and style of writing were unique. She is known for creating fierce, independent and strong female leads, who are capable of identifying their flaws and correcting them. Her work also interprets and criticises the British aristocrats and the upper class, and deals with economic and class distinctions. In a time like the 1800s, where women were discouraged from writing and publishing books, and many female authors took up male pseudonyms for the publication of their work, Austen was seen as a rebel. She chose not to take on a male pseudonym, and simply published her work under the pen name, “A Lady.” By not marrying, she challenged the notion that a woman without a husband wasn’t capable of supporting herself. Austen has been named as a feminist icon by many.

Since publishing Pride and Prejudice, Austen has written many novels, which include Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, and Persuasion. Several adaptations of her work in the form of movies and shows have come up. Her books are studied in prestigious universities around the world, and her work has been appreciated by many scholars and philosophers. Though she may have died in 1817, the witty Jane Austen and her work remain timeless, and never fail to fascinate the new generations.

The picture of dorian gray

“How sad it is! I shall grow old, and horrible, and dreadful. But this picture will remain always young….If it were only the other way!”

-Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

A narcissist can be described as someone who has an excessive interest in themselves. While self love is important, narcissists take it too far. They think of themselves as superior in every way whatsoever. Their admiration and obsession with themselves can challenge extremities, sometimes even lead to their ruination. In Greek mythology, Narcissus, a hunter, was cursed to fall in love with himself. He admired himself in the river waters each day, until his despair about the fact that his own reflection couldn’t come to life and love him killed him , leaving behind nothing but a narcissus flower. The word itself is derived from his name. A similar theme is addressed by Oscar Wilde in his Gothic novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Dorian Gray was Wilde’s first, and only published novel.It was new and compelling, providing us a peek into what goes on in a human soul, even though its initial release was quite controversial.Set in Victorian England, it tells the story of Dorian Gray, a man who, after seeing a beautiful portrait of his, falls in love with it, but grows distressed at the idea that the portrait will remain young and beautiful forever as he grows old and ugly. He desires that he himself remains young forever, while his portrait ages. Mysteriously, his wish is fulfilled. The man remains youthful, whilst his painting bears the marks every sin he committed, growing uglier by the day. Eventually, he stabs the painting with the same knife he used to murder his friend, perhaps to absolve himself from his wrongdoings. However, when his servants rush to find the source of a cry, they find Dorian’s corpse, old and withered, with the painting looking as beautiful as the day it was painted.

With appreciable vocabulary and vivid metaphors, Wilde manages to convey the slow corrupting of Dorian’s soul, egged on by his friend Lord Henry Wotton. Wotton’s character was crucial for the plot, as he was the one who poisoned his mind with the idea that beauty is the only thing worth pursuing. Had it not been for him, Dorian wouldn’t have driven Sibyl, his love, to death, nor would he have killed Basil Hallward, the artist who created the painting, and regarded Dorian as his muse. As the story progresses, he found it easier to shut off his conscience, and do what pleases him.

Throughout the book, Wilde keeps up his theme of aestheticism, and subtly manages to convey to the reader the shallow nature of tangible beauty, and how too much focus on it can destroy the soul. He manages to create a world where art meets reality. Wilde’s words present a perfect study of human selfishness and vanity, providing a perfect look into thr human soul. It has gone down in history as a classic work of literature.

the brontë sisters

The Brontë Sisters: Anne, Emily and Charlotte were some of the greatest contributors to the literature we love. Their books didn’t abide by the norm. Instead they were original and creative. The sisters had a talent for giving their characters depth and complexity which only few writers could pen down. They created a legacy which has been passed down for generations. Yet, their lives weren’t always perfect. Tragedy was regular for the Brontë’s, with the deaths of first their mother, and then of their two older sisters.

Emily Brontë

“He’s more myself than I am. Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same.”

-Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights

Emily is best known for her only piece of work ever published- Wuthering Heights, an original and exciting book, portraying the dark and twisted face of love.  She published her works under the pseudonym Ellis Bell. Her inspiration could be found in authors like Percy Shelley and Lord Byron. Emily was described as the shy and mysterious one in the family. The second youngest, she found occupation as a teacher in Law Hill School.

Yet, she had to return due to her fragile health. Her book, Wuthering Heights, was published in 1847, yet she didn’t live to see the success of her novel. She died at the age of 30, a few months after her brother Branwell’s death. It is said that she had grown so narrow and small that her coffin only measured 16 inches wide. Her work is now regarded as literary classic.

Charlotte Brontë

“’I am not an angel,’ I asserted; ‘and I will not be one till I die: I will be myself.”

-Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Charlotte was the oldest of the surviving Brontë sisters, who published her works under the pseudonym of Currer Bell, to veil her gender from the public. She was employed as a governess, a job she didn’t like, due to the abysmal treatment she received from her employers. Her first manuscript, The Professor, never found a publisher, but her second one, Jane Eyre, was her most famous and well known work. She was one of the few authors, who wrote the book from a female perspective. A governess, who falls in love with her employer, yet discovers that his crazy wife has been locked up in the attic the whole time. It was dramatic and ground-breaking, and found great success as well as positive reviews from critics. She published her last book, Villette, in 1853. The last surviving member of the family, she lost all remaining siblings within a span of ten months Brontë died at the age of 38, along with her unborn child.

Anne Brontë

 “What a fool you must be,” said my head to my heart, or my sterner to my softer self.”

-Anne Brontë, Agnes Grey

Anne was the youngest member of her family, and the least known, partly due to the delay in the re-publishing of her book The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. She too worked as a governess, but was later dismissed by her employers. Her debut novel, Agnes Grey was published in 1847 under the pseudonym Acton Bell, which was based largely on her own experiences as a governess. She drew inspiration from real life for her writing. This concept of realism was common amongst the sisters. Her second work, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, is described as a shocking and disturbing contemporary Victorian novel. Yet, it was well received and an instant success. Anne died at the age of 29, shortly after her sister Emily’s demise.

Rabindranath Tagore’s Chandalika

Self consciousness, up to a point, is necessary to self development;for without an awareness of the dignity of one’s own role or function, one cannot give one’s best to the world.

The above, are the lines from one of the most underrated dramas of Rabindranath Tagore, in the world of literature – Chandalika. A drama with a lots of love, compassion, over compassion, feeling of inferiority, new birth, and culmination of great teachings of Buddha. This drama has a vast history and has been portrayed over centuries as a musical drama, music to give more life to it, and make the audience understand the intensity of the emotions that the protagonists carry in themselves, during the play.

Themes –

A religion that insults is a false religion. Everyone united to make me conform to a creed that blinds and gags. But since that day something forbids me to conform any longer. I’m afraid of nothing now.

The story that is revealed in the plot is all about discovering new dimensions of life, as well as, discovering one’s inner self. Readers also come across new experiences of life through the characters themselves, in each and every scene that is being played on. Set in an old city of Shravasti, in the then Uttar Pradesh, the story has to offers many aspects of human approaches, such as, over obsession for something can be as disastrous as gulping poison. Another aspect of the play is discovered through the act of quenching thirsty Buddhist monk, that proves to be a kind of “rebirth” for a girl who is meant to be untouchable. The presence of the mother is a cue of saying that, one should not step out of the boundaries that are set by the religion and society for any person living on this earth. Rebellion against the wall of system and society, is another thing that is portrayed by the drama. The presence of a Buddhist monk in the play, rejuvenates it, bringing whole of a new sense to the play, teachings of Buddha, determination towards life and bringing up the best of a person, is that converts it into a multi dimensional and psychological drama of intense spiritual conflict. Finally, turning into a sort of redemption, along with self realisation, the drama yet has a tale to tell, that –

Love does not claim possession, but it gives freedom.

Introducing the characters –

Chandalika, as the name suggests, is about a chandal girl belonging to the lowest untouchable caste, who gives water to a beautiful monk and falls for him. Unable to restrain herself, she made her mother chant the spells and bound him to be presented at their house at night. Filled with lust and sensitivity, the character of Prakriti portrays the nature’s qualities, she is aggressive, ready to make sacrifices, adorably tolerant, love excessively, mostly alike our mother nature. The story is not of a wicked girl roused to lust by the physical beauty of the monk, but of a very sensitive girl, condemned by her birth to a despised caste, suddenly awakened to a consciousness of her full rights as a woman.

Anand, the famous disciple of Buddha, is a monk in a real sense, pure, loved all the creatures of the world, spread the enlightenment, and victim of the lust of a girl, who unknowingly, is put to remorse and shame.

Symbolizing the social evils prevailing in the society, in the contemporary time, Prakriti’s mother, is yet another character of the play, who, unfortunately had to pay heavy price of her daughter’s love, by giving sacrificing every nerve and cell of her body. She is, as protective, as every other mother ever lived on this earth. At the same time, preventing her to not to claim such a pure soul, Anand, as her’s.

The plot –

For wisdom is not happiness, and renunciation is not fulfilment.

Forgotten that I was a human being, these words always pinched Prakriti’s ears for many years, when one day in vaisakh, she, sitting under the blistering sun was introduced to a person in town, whom she could only think to be standing some fifty feets apart from “a girl, as she. ” It is, Anand, the monk, pure as heaven, beautiful,englitened, who has renounced the earthly leisures, approaches her to quench his thirst. But, being a Chandal, Prakriti was bound not to offer him water from a lake as unpure as herself, on which he laments, and speaks to her, if the black clouds of sravana are dubbed chandal, what of it? It doesn’t change their nature, or destroy the virtue of their water. Don’t humiliate yourself;self humiliation is a sin, worse than self murder. It is when comes twist in the tale, she is revealed to a new birth of herself and is determined to bring him back to her, and discover a cherish her new birth with herself.

Hearing this from Prakriti’s own mouth, her mother is shaken up and thinks that somebody has chant some spell over her. She is awestruck by the idea of her talking of the humanism, caste, and want for the monk. Not ready to listen to her mother, Prakriti wants the monk back, by hook or by crook, that could be achieved when the mother chants her spell over him, and call him off straight to her place. The mother rebels and protests against this idea of her, saying, we only churn up the mud, his power is much more greater than hers, and by chanting spell over him, she can commit a great sin.

The utmost desire to have the monk right next to her is unshakable, and being the only loveable daughter of her, the mother is bound to chant the magic spells. She makes her prepare all the stuff that is required to fulfill the strength of the words, and giving her a magic mirror, tells her to be attentive of the paththat Anand will choose to come over here. Magically, her spells worked out, but in a different manner, though Anand came all the way to her house, without any second thought, but his radiance withered, the shining, the purity, the heavenly glow, all gone, faded, destroyed to pieces. Also, her mother was exhausted till now, she was lying on the floor, counting last of her breath,as overpowering such a majestic personality was a difficult task to do.

It was the time when Prakriti again realised, was awakened to life, that she has committed a sin, redeemed for the second time, purged of the pride and egoism that had made her forget that love does not claim possession, but gives freedom. Also, the holy monk is taken back into his earlier state by the powers of The Buddha.

The drama is a delight to the readers, a tragedy with a lot of teachings and morals to tell. Self redemption, obsession, realization, rebirth, it is a bunch of great dialogues, that takes the reader into in itself.

Merchant of Venice – a tragedy or a comedy

One of the Shakespeare’s most powerful, strange, uncomfortable plays. A play about a piece of paper with a promise, a dangerous promise, and yet its a comedy. Sometimes showcasing the relation between Jews and Christians, sometimes, comedy and tragedy, and sometimes between those who are at center and the margins. Yet, it is a play that engages with toxic materials, with the major themes of self interest, the divine quality of mercy, hatred as a cyclical phenomenon.

Though, the play begins with a comic, but not entirely lighthearted way with a group of friends – male friends. But as the play proceeds, through act two, the story turns to unfold, and it is out of the history of hatred and suspicion that the play withstands in a new way. And turns into a tragic event. In act three is a famous moment, where the speech of Shylock (one of the tragic figures of the play) is a declaration of shared humanity. This speech makes the extremely strong claim of the opposite, that we share the same being. But it is also worth remembering that the speech ends with a declaration of determination to revenge.

This is a play that says if you treat me this way, I will want to get my revenge. And I have learned that also from you, because when you are treated badly you want revenge.

This play stages rage on the part of the persecuted minority. The determination on the part of Shylock to kill his enemy.

Going all the way through the act four, we,as an audience,experience that it might turn out to be one of the tragic plays, as is clear from the trial scene, ending up with Antonio’s death. But, lastly ends up with a happily -ever- after mood. In act five, everyone marrying their loved ones, changing of lives.

Genre –

There are two ways that people tend to think about comedy, a more romantic idea and a more satiric idea. And the romance is what throws the emphasis on the reconciliation.

When the play begins, fulfilling the audience’s expectations of what a comedy might look like, we have young men bantering with each other, teasing Antonio about the fact that he is sad. We also have the introduction of marriage plot, we learn that Bassanio wants to woo Portia. Also, Portia wants to find an acceptable husband. The play also goes towards a romantic play, a myths, fairy tales, romance stories that audiences might be familiar with, like involving the casket test. Audience might have reacted with some surprise when we hear this tragic news that Antonio has defaulted, that his life is in danger.

Thus, this is a play that leaves the audiences awestruck with its continuously changing moods, starting rightly from a comic pace, to going through some tragic moments, and finally ending up with a rom-com arena. Which is why most of the playwrights often misconceptualise it and try to mould it in a way which suits their audiences the most.