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Deputation of Power in Vijay Tendulkar’s Play

Info: 2741 words (11 pages) Essay
Published: 18th May 2020 in Literature

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Deputation of Power in Vijay Tendulkar’s Play


Power plays extremely remarkable role in the life of human being. Everybody wants to live in the power structure built by the civilization. In democratic process, people elect the leaders that will enhance their life through the basic leadership system. The power structure is imperative that leads route through capacity to control. Political and economic power plays dominant role in social framework. Man and muscle power is at the focal point of individuality, the mighty exploits the weaker. There are numerous dimensions of the power utilized by the Marathi dramatist Vijay Tendulkar in his play. Through the present article an attempt will made to expand and modify the concept of power with the scrutiny of Tendulkar’s select Marathi translated play. It will also contribute to the faculty of knowledge and inspire to improve the human head and heart.

Keywords: Power, Civilization, Dimensions, Leadership, Structure.

It was the time, when muscle power becomes the significant power in human life. Many battles fought by the man with the muscle power, those are winner’s becomes the leader. In the course of time, we shifted to democracy, here majority becomes power. After that those have knowledge resource accomplishes the power in society. Now days, healthy bank balance converts into strength in power play. On the individual level, physical strength, knowledge, skill and gender are the measurements of the power. The structure of power play alters in the evolution of time, place and period. There were rise and false of many power structures.  Every civilization invents new sources of generating authority. The power play continues in different way, now technology is at the center of acquiring power. Michel Foucault rightly observes in his book power and knowledge:

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“Mechanisms of power in general have never been much studied by history. History has studied those who held power-anecdotal histories of kings and generals; contrasted with this there has been the history of economic processes and infrastructures. Again, distinct from this, we have had histories of institutions, of what has been viewed as a superstructural level in relation to the economy. But power in its strategies, at once general and detailed, and its mechanisms, has never been studied. What has been studied even less is the relation between power and knowledge, the articulation of each on the other. It has been a tradition for humanism to assume that once someone gains power he ceases to know. Power makes men mad, and those who govern are blind; only those who keep their distance from power, who are in no way implicated in tyranny, shut up in their Cartesian poe/e, their room, their meditations, only they can discover the truth.”1

Tendulkar, Marathi dramatist was connected with New Theatrical Movement in Maharashtra. He demonstrates a naked reality through the sharp character governed by power. Bharan, N.S. rightly perceived that, “the way he galvanized theatre through his provocative explorations of morality, power and violence, deserves a standing ovation!”2 The present article tries to expand the different levels of power in Vijay Tendulkars Marathi translated English play. For the study, I have selected Ghashiram Kotwal, Sakharam Binder; Silence Court is in Session and Vultures.

The present article, I will try to focus on deputation and delegation of power through three major aspects of the play Ghashiram Kotwal. Nana Phadanwis is one of them; he was not ultimate power source but the projection of Peshawas dominant authority. Nana as a chief minister, manipulates his power to exploit the people. The chief of administrative power bends administration for his enjoyment rather than welfare of citizens. The power makes blind, blurs the boundaries of morality. He exploits Gauri, daughter of Ghashiram for satisfying his lust against the power transmitting to Ghashiram. Nana being aged forces his sexuality on the delicate and tender Gauri, half of his age, before god Ganesh. Nana enjoyed every mode of happiness including, visit to Bhavankhani red light area. He rules over the Pune, no one dare to stop Nana, even the God Ganesha. He mocks god as mere the helpless puppet model having no real power. It is clear that human being having power thinks him/her more powerful than the whole universe. Though, Nana was far from reality, but fine example of power projection.

The second character of power deputation is Ghashiram. When he entered in Pune was powerless, humiliated by local Brahmin. Ghashiram encountered with Nana in red light area, he saved Nana from falling dawn and rewarded with pearl neck less but snatched by Nana’s follower. Ghashiram resolves to take revenge, gives his beloved daughter to lusty Nana in exchange of kotwali. He uses power to create police state of Pune. Hiding caste and wandering without permission in red light area become sever crime. Even divorcing becomes problematic, proof of marriage become necessary to roam in the city. People’s freedom and individual rights are tolerated by his authority. Everyone was under the threat and fear of Ghashiram, they don’t move freely in city. He thinks, now no one will disrespect his daughter and married her but unfortunately find killed mercilessly by Nana. Ghashiram accuses Nana but he gives lecture about impermanent nature of body, Ghashiram was totally broken, lost power, stoned by people. He never understands the real source of power, deputed power kills him and his daughter. That power makes him hollow and helpless. That’s why, power has been never permanent it was wrinkled in the course of time. In unpublished theses online rightly shows that, “Tendulkar depicts that the real power uses the mask of deputation to mediate the exercise of power, to hide the real face of power from victims so that all resistance is effectively deflected. Tendulkar shows that anyone who gets power always forgets past and as authority he becomes oppressive”.3

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The third aspect of Brhaminism was treated as caste of power. Saving head, holy thread and books are the source of class power. The knowledge used for administration and management transformed into political power. The game of power play within the class and if shred, they have to pay costly. Money was chief source, so the gift of neck less was snatched by Brahmin courtiers. Degradation of value has not any value in power state. Everybody in the play misuses the power, Nana for his lust, Ghashiram for his revenge and Brhamin robs as poor of the city. The mindset of the authority was to exploit other, instead to use welfare of city. There is muffled pride among these people. They never realize the truthful side of power. Woman and wealth are at the core of drama, merry making becomes target for them. The chain of exploitation moves from top to bottom continuously. Here, it is worth to consider Debnita Chakrabarti comment, “the play Ghashiram Kotwal (“Officer Ghashiram “), deals with political violence. Its theme is how men in power give rise to ideologies to serve their purposes, and later destroy them when they become useless”.4

The most controversial play Sakharam Binder was celebrated and applauded overall the world. I am interesting to prove the issue of power that includes sexual, spiritual and societal structure. They are interconnected very smartly in the play. The play stands upon these three major phenomena of power. The power of sexuality promotes Sakharam to keep mistress, one after another without any remorse. When the play opens, Lakshmi was the seventh woman brought as mistress and after interval Champa was the eighth mistress. Lakshmi was not attractive so her husband left her. The power of Sakharam Binder’s remains in sexuality and physical force, so he continuously changes woman’s after losing interest. Women’s have to play role of household worker and sexual partner Champa was sexually aggressive and powerful, accuses Sakharam as impotent. That’s why with stress he loses sexual power and drink alcohol out of rage. Sakharam because of guilt conscious mercilessly in a fit of anger killed Champa. Champa also behaves in the same way, beats her husband former police officer, being sexually inactive. Sakharam, after killing Champa, was helpless, Lakshmi forward digs hole in kitchen. She says, “Let’s bury her. . . . Nobody would ask. I’ll say ‘she left here of her own accord.’ God is witness. He knows I’m good and holy. He’ll stand behind me. He won’t condemn you as a sinner and murderer. I’ll intercede on your behalf [italics mine]. I’ll ask Him to save you on the strength of my righteous deeds.” (P.77) Her spiritual power builds firmly behind Sakharam. Her devotion of many years becomes fruitful to save her husband (not legal) she worships god Ganesha every Chaturthi. Though she was physically weak but her spiritual will power was very strong. Sakharam free thinker disconnects cords with social structure. He keeps women’s to fulfill his sexual desire, without any social norms. The grip of society never loosen up easily, poor Lakshmi seriously attached with Sakharam as her real husband. Limaye observed that, “Lakshmi insists that she is going to die in Sakharam’s lap an expression of the common wish on the part of a chaste Hindu wife to die before her husband. Lakshmi’s insistence is, indeed, a demand for Sakharam’s recognition of her as his true ‘wife.’”5 thus the play is representation of individual and institutional power play.

I have selected third important play for discussion is Silence! Court is in Session. The play validates projection of power as a process. Miss Benare was powerless facing trial in court for committing crime of infanticide. In patriarchal society, women was always trapped, exploited and humiliated. Her emotions and sexuality never respected.  Prof. Damale was the reputed old professor doesn’t accused for his crime. He never comes on the stage but Miss Benares face trial against being a mother of unborn child. Here, the disparity of gender, especially male dominance become powerful that oppress poor school teacher Miss Benare. It is clear that power remains in institution, the institution of Law, marriage and motherhood rejects the personal emotions of Miss Benare. She was pregnant without marriage, even falls in love with too much older professor. She loves intellect and comments made by professor Damale, besides he was married, having wife and children, makes pregnant to Miss Benare. Here, institution of education was disappointed by prof. Damale sharing sexual experience with Miss Benare. Additionally, the institution of motherhood was certainly troubled because of being pregnant without marriage. The agency of Law was also very authoritative in social structure. It values the truth only on the basis of proofs. The justice was manipulated by people with money and power. The strength of law remains in process of verdict truth with the help of different observer. All the observer condemns to Miss Benare for committing sexual crime but at the same time secretly longings to possess her body. They love Miss Benares sexual brashness and frankness but discards because of vulnerability in marriage. Shoumik Bandopadhey says correctly that “it is part of Tendulkar’s dramatic strategy that, Benare’s immediate prosecutors in the play as powerless as she. All the exertions cut to Benare’s down to size a more than striving after power than real exercise power. They make her the object of their insecurity as a matter of fact Tendulkar’s plays as considerable length on the individual powerlessness of each of us excellence. Each of them grabbing opportunity to expose and humiliate to one another and ganging up only to attack. Benare in the process exposing their own powerlessness and the desperate need to assume to pretends of power in the collective.”6

The next worth play for consideration of power factor is ‘The Vultures’ (Gidhade 1970), it was fabulous blending of power game. In the nutshell of the play, everyone moves for power structure, lust and greed for power is the dominant aspect of the play. Here, I am eager to notice the attention on how the character plays with the motive of power. Hari Pitale and his brother Sakharam started business named ‘The Hari Sakharam Company’ but Hari cheated his own bother for the hunger of money. Even law, cannot give justice to Sakharam, Hari was very crook in nature. He uses supremacy of patriarchy, didn’t give money to his children, further the names of banks cannot be disclosed. Besides, children make plots to snatch money and bits mercilessly to their father and makes him homeless. Valuable relations and emotions become meaningless in front of material wealth. The greed for money destroys the powerful institution of family into the nest of vultures. Hari’s three children Ramakant, Umakant and Manik faces moral degradation, when brothers aborted their sister’s unborn child is really shocking. Loss of sexual power is also sub theme of the play, that Rama develops illegitimate relationship with Rajninath brother of her husband. Her husband Ramakant was unable to womb her wife and become impotent due to alcohol. There is continues struggle between physical power and money power. Michel Foucault The individual, with his identity and characteristics, is the product of a relation of power exercised over bodies, multiplicities, movements, desires, forces.7

Power stays in structure, aggregation, establishment and organization. It is bottomless, can built, the life of people and even destroys. It is in momentum, concreteness and union. Besides, it flows freely like river.  Power built assurance, arrogance as well as strength. It has curse of cruelty, lust, domination and exploitation. Power moves through power, its own source. The power has different dimensions, like economic, political and social. In my view power demonstrates the real nature of human being, his/her fundamental nature of dominating others. The will exasperates and destruct other for self-centeredness, creates fear, tension and violence. Power is the natural force of human life that divides people into powerful and powerless. It means not that power has only cynical side, if it has been used in right spirit that will certainly bloom paradise on earth. It was impractical to generate all on equal level, so everybody should respect each other’s views and opinions. It should be decentralized and managed democratically, that will certainly lead to prosperity. The power of wind remains in speed, power of water remains in flow and power of sun remains in firing, as the power of human being remains in his/her will power. The will power should be controlled and developed according to ability. Human being should cultivate soul, mind and body to fulfill minimum needs with minimum means.

Works Cited:

  1. Foucault, Michel. “Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings 1972-77” ed. Colin Gordon. Pantheon Books, New York, 1980, PP.51
  2. Bharan, N.S. “The Plays of Vijay Tendulkar,” Creative Books, New Delhi, 1999. PP.2
  3. Unpublished Theses.
  4. Chakrabarti, Debnita. “Ghasiram Kotwal” India Interacts (World Section). Jan 09, 2008. PP.4
  5. Limaye, Mohan. “The Archetypal Identity of Lakshmi in Sakharam Binder” Modern Asian Studies. Vo. 12 Issue 01 Feb. 1978, PP 135 – 143 Published online: 28 November 2008
  6. Bandyopadhyay, Samik, “Introduction: Collected Plays in Translation” Oxford University Press, New Delhi, (2004).
  7. Foucault, Michel. “Power/knowledge: Selected interviews and other writings 1972-77” ed. Colin Gordon. Pantheon Books, New York, 1980, PP.74


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