VijayTendulkar is a leading Indian playwright, movie and television writer, literaryessayist, political journalist, and social commentator primarily in Marathi.Vijay Tendulkar has received both bouquets and brickbats in a playwritingcareer that has spanned five decades. He is internationally known as a path-breakingtheatre writer and plays a vital role in the modernization of Indian Theatre,is primarily traditional until his plays appeared on the stage. He brings manychanges to Marathi drama without deviating from the stage completely andcombines facts and fiction in his drama very nicely and paints the reality ofthe world in sharp colours.
We can see vivid picture of the present day societyin his plays. Being concerned with journalism, he automatically came acrossvarious types of persons. His requirements are fulfilled due to the newspaperreports or incidents narrated to him. Tendulkar gradually rebelled against thetradition and became the dramatist of the new age. Healso writes his plays to account the disillusion and aggressive violentreaction of young educated generation against his society. He is associatedwith the Marathi Experimental Theatre, presents his plays on the lives ofeducated lower class graduates, who become misfits in the society due tounemployment.
Their disillusionmentreminds them of their traditional suppression by the upper caste and reactsviolently to avenge the trouble makers. The constitution of Independent India has conferred upon equal rights tomen and women. It is unconstitutional tomake any type of discrimination on the grounds of religion, caste, colour andsex. However, when we see throughpractical point of view, we noticed that people of lower caste as well as womenare not treated with equality. Likeancient period their life is not protected in this modern age also. Day to day, the incidences of violence andcriminality against women and the oppressed are rising.
To answer all these aspects, Tendulkar wrotethe play Kanyadaan. It can be consideredas a fictionalization of the real life saga of most of the Indian people. It depicts the problem of untouchability inthe Indian society and the violence and disillusionment of the IndianYouth. It focusses on the contemporarysocial problems associated with domestic violence between the spouses which isgenerated out of the class differences of spouses.
Through the characters of Arun and Jyothi VijayTendulkar successfully exposed the masochistic, hypocritical behaviour of themodern society.Kanyadaan (1983), a controversial play has two acts, five scenes with a limitednumber of characters. In the first scene of the first act, Jyoti informs herparents her decision to marry Arun Athavle, a Dalit youth. Seva is shocked toknow it but Nath is relaxed and happy inside because he wants to remove theclass-system which is his dream.
Nath says: “But if mydaughter had decided to marry into high caste, it wouldn’t have pleased me asmuch…” (Tendulkar,504). He accepts Jyoti to get married with Arun,whom she knew for the last two months. Nath wishes to experiment with thismarriage, which is a sort of political act. In the second scene of the act one,Jyoti brings Arun, who is dark Dalit youth doing his B. A. Jyoti is very muchinterested in his poetry and his autobiography.
In the first scene of thesecond act, Jyoti arrives perplexed and looking unhappy. Then Arun follows,rather drunk. He asks for Jyoti’s forgiveness as he had beaten her. Jyotileaves with him again. At this juncture also, Nath does not want his dream toget broken before his eyes though he is aware of the plight of his owndaughter. Nathstill thinks of this marriage as a significant social experiment.
So hedesperately wants this marriage to work. Nath says; “We must save thismarriage. Not necessarily for our Jyoti’s sake…This is not just a question ofour daughter’s life, Seva, this has …a far wider significance…this experimentis a very precious experiment”.
(Tendulkar, 537)In the second scene of the act two,Arun’s autobiography gets published in which he is dealing with the theme ofoppression and miserable condition of the poor – the lower class. But the ironyis that Arun himself exploits Jyoti and lives as a parasite on her. ThoughJyoti is pregnant, he makes her work at home. His ill-treatment to Jyoti is akind of answer back from the Dalits to the upper-class. Arun asks Nath todeliver a public speech on his autobiography but he refuses to do so.
Butlooking at the plight of his daughter, in the final scene of the second act,Nath gives a hypocrite speech by praising Arun’s autobiography against hiswill. Nath wants to prevent Jyoti from further annoyance, but Jyoti does nottolerate this and she leaves home for forever. At the end, Nath, the idealistis turned into the realist. He says at the end in rage that the entrance ofsuch dalit has polluted his home. That is how the drama ends with Jyoti’sdeparture never to come back at the Nath’s home.
Todayhatred, anger, retaliation and violence are the striking parts of thesociety. Though the government attemptsto stop such kind of domestic violence, man continues to be violent. The roots of man’s violence are found in hisblood which cannot be uprooted with the help of rules and regulations or withlegal authorities.
The feeling of violence is a natural instinct of humanmind. It can be controlled but nottotally destroyed as shown in our play Kanyadaan. In the view of author, it is not the story of a victory; itis the admission of defeat and intellectual confusion. It gives expression to adeep-rooted malaise and its pains. Accordingto many thinkers like B.R. Ambedkar inter-caste marriage is one of the bestsolutions to end the evil of caste.
One important question comes to our mind:Is the inter-caste marriage really the best solution to uproot caste troublefrom the society. Inter-caste marriage is considered as a complex socialconcern especially in Indian context. Though many social reformers andorganisations declare it as the most important device for changing anddestroying caste system in Indian society, the inter-caste marriage is notlargely welcomed and encouraged in Indian society. It is observed that theinter-caste married couple may face problems and difficulties, which othercouples are not necessary to face in society. This is because the inter-castemarriage is the result of cultural differences between different castes, whichare brought up in different environment. Their way of living is very different.So, they need time for adjustment and to destroy the cast dilemma. This playhighlights the caste and gender discrimination in Indian context.
There is astrong relation between caste and gender. Some people believe that there is aclose connection between the purity of women and purity of caste. Women havebeen exploited for centuries in all over the world.
They are depressed anddeprived of all rights even to speak or to act. They do not have any kind ofright as independent human beings. Moreover, they do not have courage to revoltor raise a voice of rebellion and if it happens, it is immediately suppressedand silenced. Ideal dramatist aims to make a change in theideology of Indian society.
Through his writings, he tries to create an idealworld where human being is treated equally with respect. This play highlights alayer of complexities and shows the fact that it is not an easy task to solvesociological problems. Through this play, the dramatist highlights different themes.He does not portray a Dalit character that is oppressed by society and wantsequal rights with upper cast people. He presents Arun, as a young Dalit boy whogets a chance to get married to a girl from upper class.
Thus, it is oneof the most gripping and socially relevant plays of Vijay Tendulkar. It is a play based on theclash in between two families, two cultures, two principles, two religionsand two mentalities. In his plays the violence becomes the integral part as hisplays are based on reality and it deals with anger and commitment of theeducated, lower class young generation with whom violence becomes a day – to –day routine affair.