‘The National Drama of the Hindus’

Vasudha Dalmia

in Poetics, Plays, and Performances

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780195695052
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080335 | DOI:
‘The National Drama of the Hindus’

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This chapter reviews the contributions made by the British Orientalists to the aesthetics and nationalist orientation of theatre in the nineteenth-century India. It traces the shifts and changes in the emphasis and orientation that accompanied the indigenous appropriation and recasting of this Orientalist reading. Besides, the chapter focuses on the work of Harishchandra and his pioneering attempt to create modern theatre in the Hindi region. It traces the evolution of Harishchandra’s dramaturgy and practice and analyses the dominant social and political trends prevalent in his major plays. Particular attention is given to his drama ‘Natak’ wherein he developed his formulated views on the history and aesthetics of the newly configured drama which could rise to meet the demands of the new age. The final section of the chapter considers the reasons why Harishchandra’s vision of theatre as a public forum remained unfulfilled after his death.

Keywords: British Orientalists; aesthetics; national orientation of theatre; nineteenth-century India; Orientalist; Harishchandra; modern theatre; dramaturgy; Natak

Chapter.  23693 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights)

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