They are the Chorus, the violent mob, in the play.
As per the requirement of the situation on he stage, they act as violent Hindu mob or Muslim mob. They really represent the problem of religious fanaticism and communal violence that has tormented the Hindu-Muslim relationship in the country.The protagonist of the play is Dash. The entire play is presented through her eyes, The play opens with her reading her diary.
She is presented both as a young bride forty years ago and Hardier, a grandmother noon The entries in her diary introduce the incidents that happened at the time of Indian’s independence.She started writing her diary on March 31, 1948. In that diary are found entries describing the incidents f communal violence and consequent communal hatred between the Hindus and the Muslims.
Her father was a freedom fighter. During a communal clash, when he was not at home, her house was attacked by a Muslim mob. She saw her mother clutching tight the idol Of Lord Krishna. She felt that the idol was in no way different from the painted doll given to her to play with.
At that time she always wished to listen to the songs of famous Muslim singers, Smashed Begum.Nor Johan and Assyria, who had migrated to Pakistan. She also had five Muslim sisters as her friends. She very much liked Czarina, the oldest and the cost beautiful of the sisters, even though she disliked the other side of them where they sell unmentionable things. The communal clashes of that time had left in her a deep sense of trauma. The action of the play swings like a pendulum, taking the audience from the present to the past and then again to the present. The present time also shoves Hindu- Muslim strife.
The chariot of Lord Krishna and the idol are broken by the Muslims.The priest is stabbed and killed. The riotous Hindu mob retaliates, They chase two young Muslim men, Bobby (Ban) and Saved. They are given refuge by Remain Gandhi, the son of Hardier, n their house Both Hardier and Arena, Remain Sandhog’s wife protest against the act of granting asylum to the Muslim boys, but of no avail. Hardier shares with Arena her prejudices against the Muslims. On the other hand, Smite, the daughter of Remain Gandhi, remains unaffected by the development.
They find Bobby meek and defensive, but Saved is aggressive.The Hindu fanatics want the Muslims to go to Pakistan. But the Muslims rightly insist that India is their country too. The Hindus suspect that the Muslims are staying back to spy on them. At the same time the Muslim Chorus Complains to the Gandhi that the Hindus want to hunt them down. All the same, they claim that the Hindus are afraid of them, even though they are few. The Muslim psyche is very well brought out when laved tells Rankin Gandhi, “You can play the civilized host.Because you know you have peace hidden inside your armpit.
His mother Harridan’s hatred of Muslims stems from her father’s murder in Husband in a communal riot, soon after the partition, Bobby tells Remain that they have come to Morgan in search off job for laved. Now, Remain immediately offers him a job in his share shop which is visited by Abhor and Men women. But Smite insists hat laved should not accept the otter. Laved himself does not want to accept the offer.When peace returns, he wants to go back to “our hole”, Smite is the only person who knows both Ban and Saved.
Saver’s sister Testate is her friend. She has told her about both of them.She knows that laved is a ‘paid riot- rouser of the Muslims. He has actually cooked up the cause of job-seeking to come to Morgan where the Gandhi live, The political parties and communal fanatics, both Hindus as well as Muslims, hire such elements to further their ends.
Smite has actually seen them when they came to see Testate_ Arena is ere they must have done something wrong. When laved declines Ramekin’s offer of a job to him, Remain wants to hand him over to the police. But Saved is sure the police will not arrest him. The play should be seen on two different planes, one communal and another personal.Mashes Attain presents the plight Of individuals in their own households.
The personal element gets entangled at the level Of family-relationships. The young Dacha’s friendship With Czarina and her family was reported to her husband and her in-laws by the maid Kanata. It resulted in an ugly development within the family. Her husband Hair could not alert his young wife hobnobbing with Muslim women and as a result he hit her and ordered her to be confined within the house. It resulted in shaping a hardened attitude in her towards the Muslims.Moreover, when her father- in law offered a job to Sardine’s father, after his shop was burnt down in the riot, he declined it.
It puzzled her, After forty years, the entry of Jawed and Bobby into her household only made matters worse. She realized that the situation has not improved even after forty years, So, she did not approve of her son Remain’5 gesture in giving retune to the two Muslim boys. She also does not believe that hey have lost their ways and hence are in Morgan, Arena, Remain’5 wife is a subdued typical Guajarati house wife . Most of the time she spends in her paschal.She feels insecure after the entry of the two Muslim boys into her household.
No one knows that they have come on purpose, to speak to Smite about her friend Toasters Bobby is now engaged to Testate_ Smite stands in support of her mother against the high handedness of her father. In the play, one mysterious element is the display of sympathy by Remain towards the two Muslim boys Not even Hardier is able to understand why her son is so very sympathetic towards them. At last he reveals that it was his father and his grandfather who burnt the dry fruit and sweet shop of Sardine’s father in the sass.It avgas deliberately done in the name Of communal hatred to facilitate the Gandhi to buy it at half its market value. Now only Hardier understands that there is a conscience of guilt in Remain. It simply shocks her _ It only goes to prove the point that Allege Padres has made, that ;The demons of communal hatred are not out on the street.
.. They are lurking inside ourselves. ” In the play, only two characters remain to be sane, without any communal hatred. They are Smite and Bobby.
Smite goes not approve of the abject surrender of her mother to the “funny” traditional religious practices as well as prejudices.She is amused to hear her mother saying to Saved, “All religion is one. Only the ways to God are many. ” She accuses her mother for making her feel “like a rat in a hole. ” Arena asks being a Hindu stifle you? ” The response of Smite, “No, living with one does,” is startling. For driving a wedge between her and Smite, Arena accuses both Bobby and Saved. Smite and Bobby try to move trot the present to the future.
They reconcile to the reality, Once they had a soft corner of intimacy towards each other. But it was not in any way deep.So, when Smite comes to know that Bobby is engaged to her friend and leave’s sister Testate, she accepts the reality, Both Bobby and Smite make efforts to move to the future where they want to be on a plane of reconciliation and understanding and no strife. Even the police are shown to be biased in this play. When Arena dials the police, nobody picks up the receiver at the police station At one stage, laved dares Remain to hand him and Bobby over to the police. He is sure they will not arrest them. He knows the complicity Of the police. Without their complicity such a series Of communal riots re not possible.
Tannin’s use of Chorus in this play is a revealing technique to unravel the mass psychology Of both the warring groups, Hindus and Muslims. It clearly brings out the communal hatred and the consequent social disharmony in the society. The Hindu masks and the Muslim masks are equal in number. The Chorus not only brings out the animosity been the two communities, but also establishes how deep it is. Taut through Jawed and Smite, Attain bares open the painful fact that they are ‘paid riot- rouser’.
The politicians from both the communities make use of gullible elements and sustain the riots. It is for their selfish ends.