On the Staging of The
Ascent of Fujiyama
AM fascinated by the writers of the socialist countries now because I think they are doing exactly what the rest of the world thinks they are not doing. They are grappling with problems which the West is supposed to be concerned about — the psychological man, inner problems, inner tensions ... that sort of thing. The entire Western world has not come up with anything substantial or concrete in tepns of actual work in this domain. It has happened in Latin America to some extent and it is going to happen in our country in the next decade or so. And for that to happen where do you get the clues ? I mean, where do you find the parallels ? In the socialist countries. There, after the initial phase of positivist trends, they have come out into the open. They are now willing to discuss all these problems. Whether they like it or not is a debate that is going on in the context of socialism, and this the West is not willing to accept. The debate itself is as relevant to us as it is to them, but the context makes all the difference. Because of the context of socialism they can be more precise, they can be freer in turning it upside down, looking at it this way or that.
I feel I have a lot to learn, especially from this particular playwright (ChingizAitmatov), because he, apart from being a product of a socialist system, also belongs to one of the most backward regions of the Soviet Union, a Muslim area and is a first generation urban. So his personal background is characteristic of many things we have in India. I am a Brahmin trying to break away from traditional mores and yet trying to bring both the worlds together—the urban world, the urban consciousness and my background. So the problem I face is in dealing with questions such as marriage and morals; how do you actually overcome some of your hang-ups ? To overcome it in terms of your broad political understanding is one thing, but this understanding actually getting under your skin TS something else.
Journal of Arts & Ideas 15 * Prasanna staged the play The Ascent of Fujiyama, translated into Hindi by Bhisham Sahni, in December 1985, at the National School of Drama.