ASIF CURRIMBHOY AND HIS VALLEY OF ASSASSINS: DR. HARESHWAR ROY





Drama in India has a grand old history. Its origin can be traced back to the Vedic Period. It is considered as the fifth Veda. In early post independence, Indian English drama made genuine progress. Asif Currimbhoy made significant contribution in uplifting it. He laid the foundation of Indian drama liberating it from the static tradition of Tagore and Aurovindo.


          Currimbhoy’s father was an industrialist and his mother was a social worker. He was acquainted with English language from his childhood. This acquaintance helped him in attaining mastery over this language. He pursued his higher education from the Wisconsin University. His love for Shakespearean drama has influenced his body of work.


          Currimbhoy is one of the most prolific playwrights of the Post-Independence period. He is India's first authentic voice in the theatre. He is one modern Indian playwright who has shown great interest in producing drama. His wife calls him Karma Yogi.


          Currimbhoy is dramatist of tremendous energy. He has produced farce, comedy, tragedy, melodrama, history, fantasy etc.  He has written on a variety of themes. His plays are classified into social, political and religious ones. He carefully selected social political and religious issues related to India and neighbouring countries. He was moved by the violence that erupted in the country during the sixties. Thus variety and versatility are the distinguishing marks of this dramatist.


          Currimbhoy has made his debut as a dramatist for the stage. His plays are first and foremost meant for the stage. The Clock, The Refugee, Goa, Doldrummers, Inquilab, Sonar Bangla, Thorns on a Canvas, The Hungry Ones, The Miracle Seed and The Valley of Assassins are his well known works. In these plays Currimbhoy deals with different aspects and problems of life. He does not worship beauty and does not present idealism. He presents life with its reality. He has taken unusual themes from contemporary Indian society and skillfully used them into his plays. Currimbhoy was shocked to observe the arrogance of power, cruelty, violence and sex which was too terrifying, repulsive and almost barbaric.


          His play Goa deals with racial discrimination. Inquilab is based on contemporary Maoixt Naxalite movement in Bengal. Sonar Bangla encompasses the entire liberation of Bangladesh. The Refugee deals with the influx of Bangladeshi refugee into India. The Valley of Assassins narrates the origin of the Persian Ismailis. Evidently particular events or conditions stimulated his creative imagination. His canvas was wide encompassing Gandhi’s inner conflict, the flight of the Dalai Lama, the famines of Bengal Bihar and Maharashtra, the invasion of Goa, the conflicts between the Hindus and the Muslims have been dramatized with superb realism.


          Currimbhoy’s characters are engaged in life-destroying conflict between opposing ideologies. His portrayal of characters adds richness and variety to his dramatic art. Asif  Currimbhoy uses his characters to explain his special point of view. We find different types of characters such as surrealistic, absurd, dominant, frustrated, malevolent, optimistic, complex character of oedipal nature, the committed and the uncommitted. The playwright invests his characters with a touch of universality of appeal.


          In spite of comprehensiveness, Currimbhoy`s dramatic art has been a subject of criticism. Currimbhoy’s plays are passionate and heavily symbolic.


 His symbols are often crude, conventional and mechanic. Each play of Currimbhoy is different from the other play, not only in subject matter, but also in style, in presentation, in structure and in organic development.


          Currimbhoy’s plays have won greater recognition outside India. Social realism is an outstanding trait in his plays. His keen observance enabled him to understand life in its various shades. As an artist, he hardly allowed himself to be cut off from life. As a committed playwright, he presents a problem, but reserves his final verdict. In short, Currimbhoys achievement in the field of drama is both impressive and distinctive and it is also touched with the hallmark of significant attainment.


About the author:


 Dr. Hareshwar Roy, Professor of English at Govt. P.G. College, Satna, Madhya Pradesh, obtained his bachelor and master degrees in English from Patna University Patna, Bihar. He completed his Ph.D. from A.P.S. University Rewa, Madhya Pradesh. His ‘The Diasporic Articulation in the Novels of M.G. Vassanji’ is an incisive book that makes an in-depth study of the novels of M.G. Vassanji who is one of the best known literary members of Indian Diaspora. His research papers (more than 40) have been widely published in reputed literary journals. Currently he is teaching English Literature in Govt. Autonomous P.G. College Satna, Madhya Pradesh. He has attended a number of seminars and conferences. His area of interest is the writing of the writers of Indian diaspora. 

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