Minor Research Project on “Tragi – Comedies in Sanskrit”

                                                    Minor Research Project on “Tragi – Comedies in Sanskrit”
                                                    Principal Investigator: Dr. Umesh G. Shastri,
                                                             Associate professor in Sanskrit,
                                                        Dr. A.V.Baliga College of Arts & Science
                                                            Kumta-581362, Karnataka.
1.    Drama as a form of art represents the process of thought, their cultural aspirations, their spiritual and material values of life. It is also influenced by its religious and cultural background, its social environment and also political and climatic conditions.
2.    The Indian dramatists were not unaware of the darker side of life, but in art and drama they did not choose to present it, because of their own religious beliefs, directions given by dramaturgy and philosophical serenity that prevented them from depicting mundane realities of life. True Indian spirit is not for tragedy but for something more emotionally and spiritually satisfying.
3.    Most of the Indian dramatists or play wrights preferred tragi-comedy, as their vehicle of expression. Though dramaturgy prohibited tragedy, Indian dramatists did not forbid the recognition of evil in the form of suffering as an integral part of life. Man must suffer from it, but he should not allow himself to be engrossed by it. Through such experiences man ultimately attains wisdom and spiritual serenity.
4.    The tragic flaw or ‘hamartia’ in the character of the hero, which is the source of all suffering and unhappiness in a tragedy, is not to be found in the hero of a Sanskrit tragi-comedy. As per the rule of Indian dramaturgy, all the heroes in Sanskrit dramas are men of exceptional qualities like extreme generosity, kindness of heart, sweetness of temper, fortitude, poise and calmness. Especially, the hero of a serious play or tragi-comedy is a dhirodatta, a noble man with self-control and firmness of purpose as his leading qualities. Such a hero cannot be a failure in his endevour.
5.    In Sanskrit, tragi-comedies are poetic dramas with a predominance of romantic elements in them. Dramas of Kalidasa, Bhavabhuti, Sudraka and Sriharasha are extremely rich in poetry of the most elegant and refined type. Sanskrit poetry enjoys a distinct advantage is of its metre. Each metre that is used is in perfect harmony with the mood or emotional state of the character especially hero and heroine of the drama.
6.    Vision of human life in the eyes of these Sanskrit dramatists is quite significant. Human life is subjected to the ravages of physical passions like desire, jealousy, hatredness and revenge. But wisdom lies in the realization of the inner spiritual harmony, which alone can save life from such adversities. Suffering-especially to those that are good and innocent may look unjust and unfair. Good men like Rama, Jimutavahana, Carudatta and innocent and noble women like Sita, Sakuntala suffer more than those who are comparatively less good and noble, that too for no fault of theirs. But their suffering instead of over-whelming them, reducing them into a state of pathetic helplessness, ennobles them and at the end they come out with success and serenity in their life.
7.    Another important outlook of Indians towards life is that, everything that happens to man happens only in response to the dictates of the Divine will. All the ills of life such as sorrows, pain and suffering are as much the creation of this Divine will as joys and happiness. In fact, such situations are the testing time of man and they are not ills but blessings in disguise intended for the promotion of true wisdom and happiness.
8.    The main reason for misery and suffering in life is the feeling of ‘Ego’ ‘ahamkara’ and ‘Mine’- ‘mamakara’, which encompasses our mind, and blinds our vision and intellect and ultimately destroys our sense of discrimination.
9.    The Hindu ‘rasa theory’ is not very much different form Aristotlean purgation of pity and fear. Aristolean catharsis and Bharata’s ‘rasasidhanta’ have almost the same objective, the evocation of sentiment in the spectator. According to Aristotle the feelings evoked by drama, i.e. tragedy are two only, pity and fear, whereas according to Bharata and the Hindu theorists they are nine. Hindu classification is more systematic and well defined because the Hindu drama is not tragedy but a mixed one with a wider scope for the evocation of different sentiments. One may say that, tragedy is a picture of the disintegration of human personality, where as tragi-comedy on the other hand is a picture of the re-integration of human personality.
10.    The tragi-comic world of Indian dramatists especially of Bhasa, Kalidasa, Sudraka, Sri Harsha and Bhavabhuti is a world of hope and virtue. Scenes and situations depicted by them like romantic love, beauty and simplicity, consciousness about duty and responsibility, unmerited sorrows and suffering–all these situations of life are finally crowned with peace, wisdom and happiness, because outlook of Indian dramatists is optimistic and not pessimistic.


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