In the 1970s, Mahasweta Devi dramatized one of her major works, Mother of 1084, and four of her finest stories, convinced that as plays they would be more accessible to the larger audience she wanted to reach. In the five plays collected here, the mother of a Naxalite martyr ‘discovers’ her son (and, in the process, herself) a year after his death; a man enslaved by an ancient bond discovers that the bond has turned to dust years ago; a ventriloquist intensely in love with his ‘speaking doll’ loses his voice to throat cancer; a son acknowledges far too late his mother who has been outcast and branded a witch by the community; and a traditional ‘water-diviner’ rises to a different role, immediately becoming a threat to the administration.
Rooted in history, and following myth as well as contemporary reality, with socio-economic milieus ranging from the urban bourgeoisie to the urban underworld, rural untouchable settlements to adivasi communities, these plays offer a view of India rarely seen in literature.
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