Onto the Stage : ‘Slighted Souls’ and other stage and radio plays by Murthy, BS. A compendium of the author’s stage and radio plays – while ‘Slighted Souls’ deals with the rebellion of the downtrodden, ‘Men at work on Women at work’ is about sexual harassment at work place and even as ‘Castle of Despair’ is built on the ground of man’s urge for success, the radio play ‘A Love on Hold’ depicts the drama of love and possession.
“Slighted Souls” is a poignant love story set in rural Telangana, beset with feudal exploitation of the downtrodden dalits. Besides forcing the dalits to toil in the fields as bonded labor without impunity, the land owning doras had no qualms in reducing the womenfolk of this ilk as sex slaves in the gadis.
“Men at work on Women at work” is a tragic-comic episode depicting the fallout of sexual harassment at the workplace in the Indian urban setting with its traditional cultural underpinnings.
“Castle of Despair”, built on the slippery ground of man’s innate urge for one-upmanship, portrays its facade of falsity on the grand stage of human tragedy.
The radio play, “Love on Hold”, lends voice to the felt anxieties of a man and a woman as their old flame gets rekindled felt and the dilemmas of possession faced by the couple in a conservative cultural background.
. Slighted Souls
Scene – 1
Voice Over: Under the British Raj in India, the self-indulging Nizams of Hyderabad abdicated the administration of their vast principality to doralu, the village heads, letting them turn the areas under their domain into their personal fiefdoms. While the successive Nizams were obsessed with building palaces and acquiring jewelry, the village heads succeeded in ushering in an oppressive era of tyrannical order. Acting as loose cannon from their palatial houses called gadis, the doralu succeeded in foisting an inimical feudal order upon the downtrodden dalits. Besides making these dalits toil for them as cheap labor without impunity, the doralu had no qualms in making vassals out of the hapless women folk. What with the police patels and the revenue patwaris in nexus with the landed gentry and the moneyed shaukars making a common cause with the doralu in their unabated exploitation, their sub-human condition ensured that the dalits were distressed economically, degraded socially and debased morally. Ironically, lending the privileged few the muscle power to perpetrate the inimical social order were their henchmen from the other backward classes. Moreover, given the British political pragmatism of an indifference to the Indian caste conundrum the downtrodden dalits had nowhere to run for cover.
. Stage Plays:
1. Slighted Souls
2. Men at work on Women at work
3. Castle of Despair
1.Love on Hold
. ‘Onto the Stage” was born out of my conviction that for fiction to impact readers, it should be the soulful rendering of characters rooted in their native soil but not the hotchpotch of local and foreign caricatures sketched on a hybrid canvas.
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