Man-woman relationship in Vijay Tendulkar’s Sakharam Binder and Silence! The court is in session
Introduction: Vijay Tendulkar can be acknowledged as the precursor of modern Indian English drama. His contribution is marvellous and bulky in the development of modern dramatic sensibility. Though he didn’t write much more in English, the translated work from Marathi to English is really mind blowing. Born in Kolhapur and grown up in common Brahmin family he began to write when he was only six years old. He didn’t believe in idealism as his many plays derived inspiration from real life incidents or social upheavals which provides clear light on harsh realities. So I would like to say that Indian literature is fortunate enough to produce a versatile genius like Vijay Tendulkar whose contribution is remarkable not only in the development of the Indian English drama but also lies in providing proper name and magnitude to Modern Indian English drama . Man and woman are impartial parts of this world. Man is not complete without woman and woman is not complete without man. World has no value without man and woman. All the things happen here for man and woman and sometimes due to man and woman. Every religious book has a centre i.e. man and woman. All the things around them are made for them. Though they are made by god, their relationship is not made by themselves. The different things like culture, history, religion, society affect on their relationship. I am going to find out the complexities between man and woman with the help of Vijay Tendulkar’s selected plays. These plays are very typical in the sense of man-woman relationship. In Silence! The court is in session Miss Leela Benare is used by all male characters for their fun that terribly attack on her adulterous nature. Sakharam Binder presents relax and free life of Sakharam regarding the use of women which handles man-woman relationship in South – Asia. He justifies all his acts through claims of modern, unconventional thinking, and comes up with hollow arguments meant in fact to enslave women. It was also one of the most famous dramas by late Vijay Tendulkar. The play was greatly appreciated by critics all over the world. For its critical nature and direct touch to social problem it was banned in India in early 70s.
1. Man-woman relationship in Sakharam Binder: Tendulkar himself was very interested in focusing on man-woman relationship and he did so in his plenty of plays. He shows the terrible and harsh reality of man and woman in Sakharam Binder. It deals with the topic of male domination over female. As a man of modernism and devoid of ethics and morality, Sakharam, the hero of this play opposes the outdated social codes and conventional marriage systems as he doesn’t believe in wedlock society and behaves like an outsider with the women who come into contact of him. He hates society and its laws of wedlock that is why he doesn’t want any permanent partner. So he gives shelter to abandoned wives and uses them to fulfil his sexual desires. He is far away from feelings and emotions. He loads all his household duties to enslave women. Why does he behave so? Who is responsible for his cruel behaviour? I think the elements like culture; history, religion, and society around him are responsible to make him so. He was born in Brahmin society but his parents failed to civilise him. His father would beat him terribly so he ran away from his house when he was eleven years old. Being a man he had some physical desirers and was impossible to live except fulfilling them. As he was against to social system, he disliked to have any wives so he began to bring abandoned women to do household duties and share his bed. Sakharam captures the strange and complex pathology and seems to want to please his “birds” even as he bullies them and who speaks like a free thinking crusader for women’s rights one minute and like a philistine scornful of their devotion to him the next. Sakharam is a bookbinder who prides himself on his lack of regard for cultural dictates. He looks at himself as progressive: smoking, drinking and laughing off the mockery and disgust of the villagers as they watch him lead these tainted wives to his home, a new one on the heels of each former woman’s departure. 1.1.Relationship between Sakharam and Lakshmi: The play opens with seventh woman, Lakshmi following Sakharam to his door. When she comes, he informs this dainty, suffering woman of the rules of the house, and of his requirements. It almost seems he is bluffing when he brutally warns in his practiced orientation speech that he is hotheaded and likely to revert to violence. He rules his home like a tin-pot tyrant, yet Lakshmi is told that she is free to leave whenever she likes. He will even give her a sari, 50 rupees and a ticket to wherever she wants to go. “Everything good and proper, where Sakharam Binder is concerned,” he says. “He’s no husband to forget common decency.” What he doesn’t anticipate are the moral and emotional complications of this arrangement, which prove heartbreakingly ruinous to everyone involved. Lakshmi is very religious but not so attractive. Sakharam treats her like a slave and uses her for different purposes. She lives with him for a year and he annoys her so much. One day he beat her so horribly that she couldn’t bear his tyranny. When he came to know that she is not enduring all this, he decided to send her to her nephew living in Amalner. Here the question rises, why was he troubling her? As she was religious and moral, she turned him into religious, made him to have a bath daily but it didn’t affect anymore on his personal nature. Poor Lakshmi gets her head smashed against the wall. She endures all things because she is woman while he tortures because he is a man. What had he wanted from Lakshmi? Why couldn’t Lakshmi give those things that he wanted? These questions are answered with the arrival of Champa. Sakharam’s tragedy turns out to pivot on his maturing social consciousness, his arrested enlightenment. He can see – almost – an idea of equality and shared humanity that transcends individual appetite, but nothing in his life) ever encourages him to follow its logic. So he makes his own philosophy of life. It is -Maybe I’m a rascal, a womanizer, a pauper. Why may be? I am all that. And I drink. But I must be respected in my own house. I’m the master here,” Binder tells Lakshmi. And he ends with one final requirement: “You’ll have to be a wife to me, and anyone with a little sense will know what to make of that.” The strapping actor impregnates his character with the unselfconscious mannerisms and prowling unpredictability of an undomesticated animal, reveling in his own bodily interjections — spitting, scratching, digesting –and indulging his appetite for food, drink and sex with an animal satisfaction that is uneasy to watch at best. Lusty and greedy, Sakharam partakes in life’s pleasures and the woman in his company as a means of furthering his quotidian satisfaction. Lakshmi’s fiercely religious and pious nature enflames Sakharam, and after much brutality is heaped on her, she lashes out at him verbally and is kicked out of the house. Sakhakam’s wildness, Lakshmi’s kindness and Champa’s brightness do not go side by side, and their psychology to live life does not resemble each other so their relationship failed. If one looks another with a view of animal, how will such a relationship succeed? 1.2 Relationship between Sakharam and Champa: The entry of Champa is really attractive. Being a wife of dismissed Fouzdar Shinde, her living style is so reach but Sakharam looks at her as the machine of fulfilling desires. She is curvy, sensuous, frank and, because she walked out on her pining husband, has the illusion of choice as a bargaining tool. Her lack of concern and disregard for Binder’s instructions combined with her flirty intensity renders him speechless. The power shifts, making him glassy-eyed and useless. As she is beautiful lady, she tries to utilize it to live life. When she came to know that she doesn’t have anything, she makes herself to sell her body to anyone who might fulfil her all desires. The play unfolds with considerable comedic brio which escalates when the spunky, gorgeous Champa enters Sakharam’s humble little home. It’s quickly apparent that Champa causes the bookbinder’s self confidence to become as unglued as the pages not bound correctly in the bindery where he works. However, there is nothing comic about what amounts to repeated rape scenes. Unfortunately, the sign, that Sakharam is not just hot-tempered, but sadistic put him beyond comedic redemption. His cruelty intensifies with the heat of his passion and the second act veers straight into operatic territory. The abuse now turns even nastier. Even trimming some of the fat from this curry of sexual tensions would not save Sakharam Binder from being an overly melodramatic tragedy and too mean-spirited to be the comedy with a serious underlying theme that it could have been. 2. Man-woman relationship in Silence! The court is in session “Silence! The Court Is in Session” is a milestone in the history of whole Marathi as well Indian English drama. Tendulkar became the centre of general controversy. He was already called the epithet of the angry young man of the Marathi theatre. The theatre group is Silence! The Court Is in Session, attending a mock drama, actually a mock trial of Miss Benare, which comes to perform at a village, is a miniscule cross-section of middle class society, the member representative of its different sub-strata, their character, dialogues, gestures and even mannerisms reflect their petty, circumscribed existences fraught with frustrations and repressed desires that find expression in their malicious and spiteful attitudes towards their fellow beings. Leela Benare, the central character of the play, possess a natural lust for life, she ignores social norms and dictates. Beings different from others she is easily isolated and made the victim of a cruel game cunningly planned by her co-actors. 2.1 Relationship between Co-actors and Miss Benare: During the first half of the play, Benare is able to outsmart her co-actors. She is not caught in their trap. But the second half of the play witnesses a mock trial of Benare that is actually a trial of the whole female race in the country. It shows our hypocrisy, our double standards regarding men and women. Benare is accused of cheap conduct, of wooing men .of fulfilling her bodily needs. But the intellectual, the absent university professor .Damle who is equally a part of the bad conduct, is not at all held responsible. The very fact that he does not turn up speaks for his sense of responsibility towards this strained woman, Benare. Being pregnant from Prof. Damle she requests two of her colleagues at the drama company to marry her. But obviously enough, they are more smart. They also refuse to attach their names with her. During the mock trial she is labelled by all words. 2.2 Relationship between Prof. Damle and Miss Benare: The beginning of Benare’s exploitation begins with her uncle who had exploited her sexually when she was only of fourteen. As he was uncle it was no question of getting married to him. She starts her life all over again, studies and becomes a teacher. As a teacher she comes in contact with Prof. Damle whom she considers quite intelligent and academically superior man. Though married, the professor exploits her sexually and naturally refuses to marry her. When she became pregnant from him, she began to search a father of unborn child for avoiding a social wrath and humiliation. Prof Damle has been spread the iron rod. It is Benare who is accused of immortality, sin, promiscuity, over sexuality. The verdict dismisses her from her school job, orders for abortion, and blackens Leela Benare’s name. 2.3 Relationship between Mr. Kashikar and Mrs. Kashikar: Mr. Kashikar is always seen with his wife. The pair of this husband-wife is a super hypocrite, leading a false life that is devoid of any meaning. Tendulkar brings out the hollowness of their life so well. Mr. Kashikar buys flowers for wife. Mrs. Kashikar buys shirts for husband. They make a constant show of fondles in public. Their perpetual show of love becomes distasteful and repulsive. Mr. Kashikar does not let the wife speak at all. Whenever she tries to give an opinion her husbands shuts her up. Miss Benare’s private life is exposed and publicly dissected, revealing her illicit love affair with Professor Damle, a married man with a family, which has resulted in her pregnancy, Interestingly, the accusation brought her at the beginning of the trail that of infanticide turns into the verdict at the conclusion, principally because contemporary Indian society with its roots grounded firmly in reactionary ideas, cannot allow the birth of a child out of wedlock. This very reversal in the attitude of the authorities expresses the basic hypocrisy and double standards on which our society is founded. It is poignant, sensitive and highlights the vulnerability of women in our society but a good thing occurred that Tendulkar received. In Silence! The Court is in Session Vijay Tendulkar takes the covers off a traditionalist society, to show us just what it is capable of when given the power to lord over those who live by their own rules. With a drama in a drama, the play revolves around theatre group about to perform a play in a village. As the plot thickens the comforting mist of ‘pretend’ starts to dissolve revealing the frustrated, bitter and jaded lives of the performers. Light years ahead of its times, Silence… exposes the dark side of middle class morality, where judgments are passed by the minute and silence is often the only recourse left to the defendant.