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Tagore’s Chandalika - Equality in Humanity

Performances | Sanskrit | Age 8+


This event is a fundraiser for VIDYASAGAR- formerly The Spastics Society of India, Chennai.

Saila Sudha is happy to present Rabindranath Tagore's Chandalika (Equality in Humanity) as the Grand Finale of its Classical Series (June-October) on the occasion of its 30th year Anniversary. An outpouring of emotion surrounding the universal and evergreen themes of equality, acceptance, love and compassion in the enchanting, ethereal and effervescent style of Kuchipudi choreographed and presented by Kalaimamani Sailaja at Narada Gana Sabha, Alwarpet, Chennai on 14th October 2018 at 6:00 p.m. Based on a Buddhist tale, Rabindranath Tagore's 'Chandalika' was published in the form of a dance drama in 1938 and was for the first time staged in Calcutta in the same year. Tagore addressed the problem of untouchability in this highly acclaimed dance drama. The story remains relevant to this day as we face many other social issues like racism, violence and discrimination. "Chandalika" has been performed and staged in many languages with multiple interpretations across the country and overseas. The story centres round Prakriti (Chandalika), a low caste girl, who for that reason is thoroughly despised by her neighbours so much that even hawkers in the street would not sell their goods to her. She broods over her destiny and curses her mother for bringing her into the world. While in this mood, she goes to fetch water from the well where she meets Ananda, a disciple of Buddha. Thirsty and exhausted, Ananda begs for a drink of water. Prakriti informs him that she is an untouchable and as such it was decreed that water from her well was to be treated as polluted by the high caste. Ananda replies to the effect that all human beings are equal, drinks the water, blesses her and departs. This incident changes Prakriti's entire outlook on life and she begins to live for the day when Ananda would appear before her again and seeks help from her mother who is known to practice witchcraft. The mother agrees and by various means of sorcery succeeds in bringing Ananda before Prakriti. Upon seeing him in such a dilapidated state, Prakriti repents her actions, touches the monk's feet and begs his forgiveness. The play ends with Ananda pronouncing his blessings on her and initiating her to Buddhism.


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