As the first major anthology of its kind, this collection of eighteen plays by women constitutes a significant intervention of gender in the discourse of Indian theatre.
Drawn from ten different Indian languages, all the plays included in this collection are being published for the first time in English translation. Each play, in its own way, engages with social issues from a woman's perspective. The anthology dramatizes women's resistance to social pressures which push them to circumscribe their spheres of activity, as well as makes explicit the various kinds of oppression and violence that form a part of their daily lives.
Usha Ganguli's solo performance, Antaryatra (The Journey Within, Bengali), weaves in autobiographical introspection with the voices of famous women theatrical characters into a rich narrative of feminine consciousness. The gritty protagonist of Mamta Sagar's Mayye Bhara Manave Bhara (Swing of Desire, Kannada) overcomes all obstacles that get in the way of her becoming a successful dancer. Aurat (Woman, Urdu), by Rasheed Jahan, lays bare many of the cruelties imposed upon women with the sanction of society and religion. C.S. Lakshmi's Aatraik Kadaththal (Crossing the River, Tamil) offers a symbolic enactment of a woman's song of anguish and her desire for freedom from oppressive social norms.
The selection also includes other legendary playwrights like Malatibai Bedekar; famous regional personalities like Nishat and Vinodini, Volga, Manjit Pal Kaur, and Jameela, and emergent talent like Varsha Adalja among others, who have made a difference to the perception of women's issues through their writings.
The general reader interested in women's writing in India, practitioners of theatre, and scholars interested in translation and cultural reproduction of texts should also find this collection deeply engaging.
About the Author:
Tutun Mukherjee is Professor of English at Osmania University, Hyderabad. She has published several volumes of short stories, articles, and books. Her interests include theatre and films.
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