The CEVA Drama Repertory Company will present two plays on diverse themes adapted from stories by Munshi Prem Chand and Rabindranath Tagore, both written and directed by Dr P Chandershekar, on Friday and Saturday.
On Friday, a play, Namak Ka Daroga, will be staged based on a story by Munshi Prem Chand. Written in 1910, the story shows how well Prem Chand understood the nature of Indian or human society and how it seems a story that may have been written today.
The author comprehended how imposition of controls by the state (the Inspector Raj) leads to smuggling, black-marketing, tax evasion and corruption. It is watchworthy how the job of the salt inspector is eyed by everyone, especially by the lawyers.
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Vanshidhar’s worldly-wise father asks him to fix his eyes on the offerings on the income over and above the salary rather than bothering about rank and status in a job.
It seems he is in debt because of his love of good life, eating and drinking. When he hears that his son has been appointed salt inspector he is delighted and hopes his son would through his ‘over and above the salary income’, not only to relieve him of his debts and help in getting his daughters married, but also facilitate a life of conviviality in his old age.
The neighbours become jealous when they hear the news of Vanshidhar’s appointment as a salt inspector. When we look at the manner the employees of the salt department perform their duties, we get deeper insights into the functioning of government employees – the watchmen and constables are dead drunk while on duty, a common occurring today.
Nothing seems to have changed during these 100 years in the way the administration works in the country. Laced with humour and irony, the story probes the human psyche.
On Saturday, another play, Munna ki Wapsi, will be staged. It is a story about Raicharan, a domestic help, who has been with a family for three generations. He has brought up at the master of the house and now is the primary caretaker of the master’s baby, Munna. One day, he takes little Munna for a stroll and goes to collect some flowers. When he returns, the boy was missing. Raicharan is accused of kidnapping the boy and is kicked out of the job.
He leaves his master’s house and moves to his own village where after a year his wife dies after giving birth to a boy. Raicharan thinks that this boy is an incarnation of Munna. He brings up the child as his lord and master.
When the boy turns 12, Raicharan takes him back to his master’s home, who is now a judge. He tells his master that this is his son, the one he had kidnapped. The master accepts the boy and tells Raicharan to get lost.
The play questions the basic social values including loyalty and commitment keeping the emotional dramatic situations in the foreground.
The plays will be staged at 6.30pm at Tagore Theatre in Chandigarh.