BENGALURU: According to the Hindu canon, Lord Krishna and Sudama are said to have shared a great friendship. The two met at their gurukul and Sudama was a poor Brahmin while Krishna was the king of Dwarka. Sudama’s visit to Dwarka with a bag of beaten rice wrapped in torn clothes is mentioned in Bhagavata Purana.
There are hundreds of stories around their friendship and one of the lesser known ones is on how Krishna offered two Lokas, Prithvi Lok and Swarg Lok, to Sudama. The later refused the offer, instead settling for a small house in the outskirts of Dwarka.
But there is always more to what we know.
Theatre groups from Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and National Centre for Biological Science (NCBS) namely Rangmanch and Stagecraft are coming together to present the version you may or may not have heard. They will present a play with a twist in the tale.
“Everyone laughed at Sudama for losing out on such a great offer but what people don’t know is what we will show,” said Amit Roy, an IISc theatre enthusiast who will play the role of Sudama on November 17 at Atta Gallata. “It will be a fun, humourous and interactive play,” he added.
The play, which will be staged by six PhD students and researchers, is an adaptation of a satire written by Harishankar Parsai.
The thirty-minute act explains the reason for Sudama’s refusal. In Parsai’s version, Sudama’s diary is unearthed and the poor friend talks of Krishna’s corrupt regime!
It was on Sudama’s visit to Dwarka that Sudama discovers the corrupt rule of Krishna and his administrators. He is not portrayed as an antagonist, just a victim of circumstances. To hush up the matter, Krishna had offered the two Lokas and Sudama had refused.
“The play is a satire to reflect the present system of governance all around the world,” said Amit.
Harishankar Parsai, was a Hindi writer and a noted satirist, who won a Sahitya Akademi Award in 1982. The entire play is of one hour thirty minutes and is titled ‘Parsai ki Parchai” (Parsai’s shadow), which will present three of Parsai’s satirical work.
Along with ‘Sudama ke Chawal’, the other two plays are ‘Asehmat’, which deals with the disagreement of two souls and alter-egos, and the third one is Parsai’s tribute to Ghalib, a Persian poet. All three plays will be performed in Hindi.
It is the first time that both the drama groups are to perform outside their institutions. Parsai’s work was considered because what he wrote then is still relevant today, according to the organisers.
“They address important social issues that still plague us to this day. Satire and sarcasm aren’t just tools in a writer’s repertoire, they are tools with which we lighten up and see the world for what it really is,” said Abhinav Yadav, a PhD student from NCBS.