Author: Dharamvir Bharati
Translator(s): Alok Bhalla
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0195672135
Andha Yug focuses on the last day of the Mahabharata war. The ramparts are in ruins, the city is burning and Kurukshetra is covered with corpses and vultures. The few bewildered survivors of the Kaurava clan are overcome by grief and rage. Longing for one last act of revenge, they refuse to condemn Ashwatthama when he releases the ultimate weapon, the brahmastra, which threatens to annihilate the world. Instead, they blame Krishna for having caused the war, and curse him.
The moral centre of the play lies in Krishna. He is the voice of compassion, an embodiment of all that is good and just in the world. Despite his failure to ensure peace, it is his presence throughout the play which reveals to us that the ethical and the sacred are always available to human beings even in the worst of times.
Andha Yug is one of the most significant plays of modern India. Written immediately after the partition of the Indian subcontinent, the play is a profound meditation on the politics of violence and aggressive selfhood. The moral burden of the play is that every act of violence inevitably debases society as a whole.
Alok Bhalla's translation captures the essential tension between the nightmare of self-enchantment, which the story of the Kauravas represents, and the ever-present possibility of finding a way out of the cycle of revenge into a redemptive ethicality.
One of the most significant plays of post-Independence India, Dharamvir Bharati's Andha Yug raises pertinent moral issues in the context of Partition-related atrocities. The action of the play takes place on the last day of the Mahabharata war and is centered on a few bewildered survivors of the Kaurava clan. The figure of Krishna is central to the narrative. He represents the infinite variety of ways in which the good manifests itself in the ordinary world. He is the man of justice and truth. The Kauravas, however, are unable to imagine the truth about Krishna. This failure of imagination becomes the cause of their final undoing.
Defending the Sacred in an Age of Atrocities: On Translating Andha Yug
A Note to the Directors
Act One: The Kaurava Kingdom
Act Two: The Making of a Beast
Act Three: The Half-truth of Ashwatthama
Interlude: Feathers, Wheels and Bandages
Act Four: Gandhari's Curse
Act Five: Victory and a Series of Suicides
Epilogue: Death of the Lord