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International Journal of English and Literature (IJEL) ISSN 2249-6912 Vol. 3, Issue 4, Oct 2013, 137-142 © TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.

TRUTH IS ALWAYS AN ANTIDOTE FOR MODERN ILLS: A CRITICAL STUDY OF VIZAI BHASKAR’S RUTHWIK T. NARAYANA1 & HARI BABU THAMMINENI2 1

Head & Professor, Department of English, Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India

2

Associate Professor, Department of English, Lendi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Vizianagaram, Andhra Pradesh, India

ABSTRACT Big questions related to human life about its onset, existence, journey etc always confuse us. Literature not only asks these questions in a searching and eloquent way, but also provides us with a wide variety of possible answers. Similarly Vizai Bhaskar has also experimented to seek the satisfaction behind moral living through his drama Ruthwik. The central character Ruthwik embodies the spiritual, philosophic and truthful qualities of human life. The concept of Global Family (Vasudhaika Kutumbam) is the dream of the author of this drama. According to this concept, he dreams to have poor become rich overnight through the path of moral living. The play also emphasizes the importance of contentment through the familial relationship, ethical living, moral binding, spiritual thinking etc., This paper attempts to focus how Ruthwik strives for the outcome of these noble virtues.

KEYWORDS: Humanity, Honesty, Ruthwik, Spiritual Thinking, Antidote INTRODUCTION Fusion of Reality and Mythology Vizai Bhaskar, one of the most significant playwrights of Andhra Pradesh, has explored the realm of Indian drama by the new world of magical possibilities fusing the reality and the mythology. His experiments with humanity, honesty, virtues on one hand and reasoning for human follies, attack on derailing human values on the other hand demonstrate his success as one of the most successful playwrights in the contemporary Indian English drama. Through his dramas, Vizai Bhaskar acts as a torch-bearer for truth lovers by synthesizing Vedic Culture, Human Philosophy with that of modern man’s carving for mental satisfaction. As the modern culture hurtles forward into newer trends, Vizai Bhaskar transports us into an imaginary world by introducing an ever encouraging tool – truthfulness and its needful uses through traditional situations. A Moral Play Vizai Bhaskar’s play Ruthwik deals with ailments that are so common in the life of the modern man who suffers from the desire of power; money etc., It sermonizes the people to live harmoniously by protecting dharma which in turn protects human life. The dawn of new tendencies and vogues affecting the very truthful way of human life is the crux of the story. By making ‘spiritual anchor’ Ruthwik a character in the play, Bhaskar dexterously demonstrates dharma’s copresence in the contemporary Indian home, street and office which marks the adharma’s co-existence of their lives. While appreciating Vizai’s wizardry as a playwright, Dr. P.V. Ramana1, in his foreword comments on the play

1

Head, The Department of Theatre Arts, Potti Sriramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad


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superficially a message oriented, creative, entertaining and very real account of an attack on present day societal ills and mistrust. A Liberal and Modern Family Portrait Ruthwik which is structured into two scenes presents the liberal and modern family with their modern tendencies of greed towards money. There is an anxiety over the desire of spending money among the members of a middle class family of Manmadharao. He has a weakness for which he hypocritically lives. His vagabond son Sekhar who is an embodiment of all modern ills has no care on familial relationships. It is found in one of his utterances…… “If it is not this father, I would have born to some other Father! It may be a Royal family! Who knows? Leave it!” (Ruthwik, P38) Manikyam, wife of Manmadharao is more selfish and tries to be more practical. In the beginning of the play she looks a faithful wife but later when monetary issues rise, she grows to be more rigid and immoral as it is said in her own dialogue…. “May God forbid! If something odd happens to you tomorrow due to my misfortune, will anybody around me come to my rescue and allow me to enjoy the property? How am I to survive? On whom shall I depend in my last days, except my daughter? And, if I am to seek my daughter’s shelter, I must be good to her! Isn’t it? If I allow her building to be disposed of now, will she be kind to me tomorrow?” (Ruthwik, P48) Abbulu, brother of Manikyam, is a great opportunist who lives under the grace of his brother-in-law Manmada Rao. He always takes the opportunity to exploit the conditions and shares the money with Lawyer Rama Murthy. His opportunist quality is found as the following….. “No more sharing hereafter Mr. Ramamurthy! Management comes into my hands! Brother-in-law will not recover from bed in near future! So, no need for manipulation and no scope for your share!” (Ruthwik, P22) Ruthwik, a Spiritual Anchor Ruthwik, a character that comes up with a sermon and advice has become the name of the play. Ruthwik highlights the importance of spiritual living and truth loving in human life now-a-days. He opens up the play by sermonizing with a Sanskrit verse thus “Durjano Parharthavyo Vidyayalankruthopisan Manina Bhushithassarpa:-Kimasow Na Bhayankara:!” (Ruthwik, P03) He invokes the inner conscience of the readers to think about the deteriorating human relations and de-tracking virtues for the cause of power, money, greed etc., He also warns that we are losing faith in world peace. He demands us to enquire the root cause of this prevailing unrest everywhere as…..


Truth is Always an Antidote for Modern Ills: A Critical Study of Vizai Bhaskar’s Ruthwik

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“Man is losing his Power and Promptitude in triple ways! Repentance and discontentment for the deeds of Yesterday! Panic for Tomorrow’s uncertainty and waver for Today! Why these fears and frustrations? We have to probe! Yes!!” (Ruthwik, P04) He also announces that the human race is now suffering from a great disease of feeling jealous of others; in turn they are creating problems to others. Hence he demands us to be sportive in living the life to its brim by having ecstasy and tranquility. He says that the Home must be a place for practicing peace but not the battle field. When Manmada Rao collapses having strife with his wife, Ruthwik rightly defines home as……… “H O M E means not a hotel to satiate your hunger or a Guest-house to quench your lust! It is an alma mater which imparts your duties! A pious Cottage which prepares you to perform the Matrimonial Yagna! It is a Meditation Hall which stimulates your inner Spirit! It’s a Temple of Wisdom which makes room for introspection! It’s a Mother’s lap which cajoles you to the ecstasy! The Sanctum Sanctorum which blesses you with Salvation!” (Ruthwik, P20) Ruthwik also criticizes modern man by saying he would get ready to practice any amount of cruelty for the sake of his well-being. He doesn’t struggle for healthy society and for his fellow human beings. Being he is a sheer anchor of spreading spirituality, Ruthwik pungently attacks the modernity by saying…. “In one’s own Life, when fear-complex captivates, any amount of cruelty looks logical for him!” (Ruthwik, P41) He also asserts the evil plans of modern man as….. “For a good project, there may be only one path! But, for executing an ugly plan, there are hundred and thousand ways!” (Ruthwik, P42) A Global Family-The Concept of Vasudhaika Kutumbam Ruthwik highlights Global Family conditions by sermonizing the onlookers of the drama. The scientific study of Ecology describes the interconnectedness, the interrelatedness and the interdependence of living creatures in a given environment. A study of Ecosystems deals with the concepts of Mineral Sharing, Energy Flow and Population Control. Living organisms belong to social communities. The understanding of ecological principles would help us to come together as one large global community and it would enable us to treat life with a sense of respect and appreciate the intrinsic beauty and value of all living creatures. Similarly Vizai’s play Ruthwik also strives to see the whole world should be like a family by helping each other to aspire for Universal Peace. It appeals the truth lovers rhetorically to know the reason behind unrest among all the Nations today. On one hand the play is demanding all of us to get united as we have to practice the concept of Vasudhaika Kutumbam


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Humorous Insight- Dialogues of Ruthwik Ruthwik is a contemporary play with humorous insight into the Modern man’s way of life in turn explores the traditional Indian values and their importance in a globalized and technologically advanced situation. Playwright’s satirical dialogues aglow with philosophical import are interesting and instructive. The following are a few examples….. Lawyer won’t lie for themselves! I swear on you! This is not a heart. It is an iron safe! Please tell me! Facts come out when liquor goes in! Secrecy is your slave only till it goes out of your lips! His ‘B.P.’ means not ‘Blood Pressure’! It is ‘Bed Pleasure’! You need only three feet to sit, two to stand and six to sleep, perhaps eternally! A drunkard is like a whisky bottle; all neck and belly and no head! Bar is a place where madness is sold by the bottles! (Ruthwik P6, 12, 16, 21,26) Dialogue gives meaning to the actual words by adding feeling and emotion to what is being said. Dialogue illuminates character faster than any narrative because dialogue is a function of character. (Five scribes) Hence Playwright has to take care in writing of dialogues to help the reader or spectator understands the character of the person speaking and to increase their awareness of the acting that is taking place. Vizai has also succeeded through his dialogue by giving what the readers of the drama need. Remarkable Research of Truth When something is moving towards modernity, there are always a few new techniques come into existence and the plays become experimental. Mahesh Dattani, India’s playwright in English, comments on the relevance of Indian theatre as….. “I think there is going to be a good positive development, because as we get into the internet age which isolates human beings, the act of communication will be premium. Theatre is our cultural activity directly related to human beings’ communication with each other…” (N. Velmani P16) Ruthwik also belongs to this category of experimental plays which has adopted a technique of alienation through which it has undertaken a serious research about the validity of truth. It may also be succeeded in promoting dharma that keeps the society intact. It also announces the dharma of past would not remain the same. The dharma of past would be observed as it would be fitting to those conditions and with the time, life style, and with the hopes and expectations of human beings, dharma would also be changed positively. For example, once upon a time the practice of untouchability was observed in the name of cleanliness as dharma and now it is known as adharma. So is sati, child marriage, kanyasulka etc.


Truth is Always an Antidote for Modern Ills: A Critical Study of Vizai Bhaskar’s Ruthwik

REFERENCES 1.

Five scribes, The Importance of Great Dialogue, Dialogue is far more than "Hello, How are you?" <http://fivescribes.blogspot.in/2008/07/importance-of-great dialogue.html>, 29.07.2013

2.

N. Velmani, Drama in Indian Writing in English - Tradition and Modernity, Language in India www.languageinindia.com ISSN 1930-2940 13:6 June 2013

3.

Vizai Bhaskar. “Ruthwik & Kaalakootam” Indo American Books 2007

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20 truth is always full