The Representation of Gods and Heroes
Parsi theatre, when it deals with romance and heroism, produces a popular, engaging drama. Heroic drama isolates the attitudes of a sovereign moral order and internalizes these as conflicts within the heroes and heroines. These are conflicts of ^ ^ individual ambitions, desires, failures — typically conflicts between love and duty, for example. These run their course within the bounds of an individual and the range of contending forces in the social order is left untouched. When Parsi dramatists such as Agha Hashra Kashmir! create characters like Rustom or Sohrab, these conflicts are played out to the full — love, duty and ambition.
Transferred to the gods, these conflicts become an aggrandizement of the merely human, the commonplace. The push and pull of dramatizing a metaphysical order (contentions between singular and collective, the unique and the common) is lost. Choruses, make-up, metaphoric proportions, among other things, enable that far more. Realism and the making of gods do not fit well together. Representational problems of the gods remain unresolved and as the decades pass, a devolving ethic that makes these gods more and more serviceable to ends is created.
A version of this paper was presented at a seminar, 'Hinduism: Self-Perception and Assessment of Tradition', at the University of Tubingen in November 1990.
NOTES AND REFERENCES
1. Radheyshyam Kathavachak, Vir Abhimanyu, Bareilly, 1983, p. 192; my translation. Following translations are also mine.
2. Ibid., p. 195.
3. Radheyshyam Kathavachak, Shrikrishna Avtar, Bareilly, 1941, p. 62.
4. Devesh Sharma, Hindi Rangamanch Ke Vikas Mein Bambai Ka Yog, Bombay, 1987, pp. 357-58.
5. Somnath Gupt, Parsi Theatre: Udbhav aur Vikas, Allahabad, 1941, pp. 1-17.
6. Radheyshyam Kathavachak, Vir Abhimanyu, op. cit., p. 11.
7. Kumudini A. Mehta, English Drama on the Bombay Stage in the Late Eighteenth Century and in the Nineteenth Century, unpublished thesis. University of Bombay, 1960, pp. 13-14.
9. Ibid., p. 46, quoting Bombay Theatre Diaries, no. 602, p. 20.
10. Ibid., p. 46.
11. Ibid., pp. 26-28.
12. Ibid., pp. 94-97.
13. Ibid., p. 107.
15. Ibid., pp. 125-26.
16. Ibid., pp. 128-29.
17. Ibid., pp. 126-29.
18. Gupt, op. dt, in Appendix, p. 14; and also Sharma, op. dt., p. 44.
19. Mehta, op. cit, pp. 130-31.
20. Ibid., p. 131.
21. Ibid., p. 155.
22. Ibid., pp. 132-34.
Journal of Arts 6' Ideas