Taledanda, is a Kannada play written by Dr. Girish Karnad, about the rise of the radical protest and reform movement, Lingayatism, in the 12th century Karnataka. Written in 1990 in the backdrop of mandir-mandal conflict, the play draws a parallel between the socio-religious-political and economic condition of existing times and southern India in the 12th century A.D. during the Bhakthi movement. Eight Hundred years ago, during the reign of King Bijjala of the Kalachurya dynasty, in the city of Kalyana, a man called Basavanna assembled a congregation of poets, mystics, social revolutionaries and philosophers, unmatched for their creativity and social commitment in the history of Karnataka, even perhaps of India itself. They opposed idolatry, rejected temple worship, upheld equality of sexes, and condemned the caste system. But events take a violent turn when they act on their beliefs and a Brahmin girl marries a ‘low caste’ boy. The build-up to the aforesaid event and what happens thereafter is the play Taledanda, which deals with times during which a vibrant, prosperous society plunged into anarchy and terror.
This play has fetched Karnataka Sahitya Academy Award (1993) and the Sahitya Akademi Award in the Kannada language in 1994 and later was awarded the Jnanpitha, for Sri. Girish Karnad’s literature work in 1998.
Written by: Dr. Girish Karnad
Directed by: Sandeep Pai S