Agni Aur Barkha
Paravasu is the eldest son of the great sage Raibhya. For seven long years, he has performed the mahayagya (fire sacrifice) to appease the Gods and get rains for the drought-ridden land. He has forsaken his wife- Vishakha, his brother- Arvasu, and all worldly pursuits. His exalted position of Chief Priest of the sacrifice creates discord and animosity within his own family: from his father Raibhya, to his cousin Yavakri. Yavakri, Paravasu's arch-rival, returns home triumphant after ten years of meditation, armed with the boon of eternal knowledge bestowed upon him by the Lord Indra himself. The resentful Yavakri embarks upon a scheme for ultimate revenge at any cost.
Paravasu's younger brother- Arvasu, who is in love with a tribal girl- Nittilai, is all set to defy his upper caste Brahmin norms and marry her. But his Brahmin upbringing does not allow him to escape the manipulations of his brother, his cousin- Yavakri and his father- Raibhya. Unwittingly embroiled in their battle for supremacy, he is eventually forced to choose between love and duty
In a desperate attempt to assert his position and dominance in the Brahmin community, Yavakri seduces Vishakha- his past lover and now Paravasu's abandoned wife. Raibhya wreaks his own vengeance on Yavakri by unleashing upon him a demon- the Brahmarakshas.
The appearance of Lord Indra at the end is testament to Arvasu's essential goodness and faith. His dialogue with the God leads him towards the path of duty and spiritual growth, through sacrifice. The purity of his love for Nittilai triumphs as the parched land is granted rain and its people salvation.
Written by Girish Karnad. Hindi Translation by Prof Bajaj.