By: Eram Fatima, Asstt. Editor-ICN
NEW DELHI: Long time ago, I had read in my textbook during my late schooldays some excerpts of the great epic, Ramayana. Then, I was too small and too ill-equipped to grasp it well. Now, after so many years, finally, when I got my hands on it again, I felt not only fortunate but excited also. It was the stage adaptation of the Valmiki Ramayana in Urdu, titled, Imam-e-Hind: Ram by Dr. Mohammad Aleem, an award winning playwright. I decided to read it all through. This is a wonderfully written drama, no doubt, originally in Urdu and, later on, transcribed in Hindi too.
This book was just launched on 1 September, 2019 in a glittering function at the iconic Constitution Club, New Delhi by the honorable Governor of Kerala and renowned Islamic scholar and thinker, Arif Mohammad Khan and received a lot of space and attention in the national press.
Mohammad Aleem has woven an interesting plot and used several techniques to portray various characters in his play. One way is substantiation by quoting figures, played by Raja Dashrath. When the writer stated the situation in which Raja Dashrath had to fulfill his oath to Rani Kaikayi, it looked dramatically exciting. It provoked to think that how important were those times and how those people of high moral standard used to fulfill the promises done to someone without caring about its good and bad consequences? They valued their tongues more than anything else in their lives.
Raja Dashrath’s four sons were the epitome of sunlight, though Shatrughan could get a very small mention. Ram was actually the center of attraction.
The qualities he inherited could make really anyone envious of him. A persona of well behaved, dutiful, nurtured from its roots, kindness unfolds with full of wisdom and farsightedness (which is extremely difficult to achieve) as we proceed further. Lakshman and Bharat were just like his shadows, but their depiction also inspires a lot. In this time, where fratricidal conflict that divides families, relatives and friends is a common occurrence over distribution of the property and other petty interests, their brotherly and loving bonding inspires and motivates us a lot.
Mohammad Aleem has resorted to third person narrative. The expressions of various tones such as anger, melancholy, cheerfulness etc. help us in understanding the various attitudes and moods of the characters. Secondly, he depicted all the characters with equal fervor whilst giving a little extra emphasis on the main protagonist, Ram. The writer made precise and convincing statements. The inhuman treatment of Kaikayi came out more prominently through rational and heart-wrenching declarations proceeding one after the other, outrageously. The intention was to make us believe to the extent one can be cruel when it comes to safeguard one’s worldly interests. Here, Ram has emerged out as a patient man, handling all the situations with extreme ease and care and without any aggression and with full compassion and love for everyone, except for Ravana, the great demon of Lanka, who kidnaps his wife, Sita, and his lustful sister, Shurpnakha.
The writer has depicted deeply and very touchingly the melancholy and debilitating pain of Raja Dashrath and the enigmatic queen, Kaushalya when they lose their beloved son, Ram. He goes into exile for the long 14 years. It proves very hard for them to bear. In fact, king Dashrath dies of that agony.
There are many metaphorical expressions used by the author to make the scenes and dialogues livelier. In page-106, “Ram’s eyes are like lotus. His face is lit with the full moonlight and his heart is full of the power and energy of the sun, but he’s also extremely polite and merciful.”
The play ends on a good note when Ram returns triumphantly back to Ayodhyaa after defeating Raavan, though Raja Dashrath lives no longer to welcome him.
The female characters have also been depicted extremely well. One can experience the many shades and faces of women’s minds and hearts, both in the time of ease and in the time of adversity and greed.
Reading mythologies are tiresome and many times people don’t touch it seeing its size and leave it half-heartedly. But if you really feel to pave a quick and interesting way to the long story short of Ramayan, this is the book to look for. Give it a go.
This book has been published by Adabi Cocktail and Sampreshan Multimedia Pvt. Ltd, New Delhi and priced Rs. 450/-