Mahachaitra, the Great Spring, and Other Plays
H. S. Shiva Prakash, Kannada poet and playwright, writes from within a regionally culture-specific environment, while grappling with pressing contemporary issues like consumerism, desacralization of humankind and nature, and the tension between colonial cultural influences and native traditions. The three plays in this volume, Mahachaitra the Great Spring, Sultan Tipu, Madari Madaiah, were written and staged beween 1986 and 1995, and they focus on three figures who have had a decisive influence on Kannada history and culture Basavanna, the revolutionary religious genius and saint of twelfth century Karnataka; Madaiah the Cobbler, a legendary character who had a great impact on the backward castes, untouchables and tribals of South Karnataka; and Tipu Sultan, the ruler whom the British schemed to defeat and depose. Mahachaitra, the play centred around the saint Basavanna, created a year-long controversy in Karnataka in which fundamentalists locked horns with Dalit and Leftist defenders of the text, turning it virtually into a household name. Dr. C. P. Ravichandra, Reader in English, Mysore University, has several translations to his credit. Sandhya S is an author in her own right and is a translator from Kannada. Lakshmi Chandrashekhar is Reader in English, NMKRV College for Women, Bangalore.
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