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CHAPTER - II
EXISTENTIAL
IMPERATIVES
26
Evam Indrajit a theatrical outcrop of all the approaches, trends,
feelings, and undefined annoyances troubling the heart of the learned
urban middle class. The rationally alive urban middle class considers
itself as the vertebrae of the country. Their so-called middle class
values have been overvalued and yet their authentic and deeper values
have always been assaulted by those who swear by trendy Marxist
canons. The middle classes have been made to feel culpable for opting
for stability, aspiring for customs and believing in a national identity.
Evam Indrajit is in some way about the remnants; the remnants are
those who have failed to regulate, line up, and stopped to aspire, and
also those who are entangled in the day to day struggle for existence.
When Badal Sircar was asked in an interview whether he
considered Evam Indrajit as a political play or an existential play; he
said that he never considered the play as a political play, and he did not
know the philosophy of existentialism. Natesan Sharda Iyer Says:
Badal Sircar is against the theatre being a commodity for
sale to the audience resulting in the detachment between
the player and the spectator. He has always argued in
favour of spectators being an integral part of the theatre...
27
to him theatre is a live wire and its strength lies in direct
communication.1
The play demonstrates the emptiness and ineffectiveness of a pseudo­
modem existence. It is often recognized as a milestone in the history of
modem Indian drama. According to Satyadev Dubey, with the first
performance of Evam Indrajit, the theatre practitioners all over India
became aware of a major talent and a major play in Indian drama.
Evam Indrajit is essentially about an emptiness of modem life as
‘life’ in the modem criteria becomes a repeated response where
originality is the real casualty. The play keeps on mmbling that our
survival is a futile speck of dust. The theme of identity crisis is
developed through the dreams, anguish, and disappointment of the
central character Indrajit in the play. Writer, a character in the play is
the narrator-cum-philosopher who involves himself in the play and
successfully attempts to create a plot as the play goes on.
The play opens with Writer’s predicament who painfully
stmggles to write a play in vain. Not having witnessed life at the
principal basic realities, he is motivated to write only about those who
belong to the middle class society. He goes on writing with no
contentment to himself and tears off whatever he writes. At last he gets
28
motivation from the girl named Manasi, literally, the creation of the
mind. Manasi is the Indian complement of Jung’s anima, an individual
serving as a baton to the communal consciousness. Following the
advice of Manasi he suddenly turns towards the audience and calls out
to four latecomers and asks them to come on to the stage. On his
asking they give their names as Amal Kumar Bose, Vimal Kumar
Ghosh, Kamal Kumar Sen, and Nirmal Kumar. Writer does not admit
the name of the fourth as he feels the fourth is hiding his identity. He
shouts suddenly and asks the fourth to tell his original name. On the
Writer’s persistence, Nirmal Kumar finally reveals his identity as
Indrajit Ray and his age is thirty-five.
WRITER
:
... What’s your name?
FOURTH
:
Indrajit Ray.
WRITER
:
Then why did you call yourself
Nirmal?
INDRAJIT
:
I was scared.
WRITER
:
Scared? Of what?
INDRAJIT
:
Scared of unrest. One invites unrest
by breaking the norm.
WRITER
:
Have you always called yourself
Nirmal?
29
INDRAJIT
:
No, but I do now.
WRITER
:
Why?
INDRAJIT
:
I’m older now. Age is afraid of joy,
of
happiness.
It
only
wants
comfort, peace. Now Indrajit only
wants the comfort of a dark, cloudy
sky.
WRITER
: