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Why is Kalidasa considered the Shakespeare of India?
Kalidasa was a well educated Hindu playwright and poet with an intricate understanding of far way regions (Kawachi, 2012). As such, he was a well travelled individual, ardent to the Hindu religion. His knowledge of the religious symbolism, rituals and mythologies in the Vedic as well as the Sanskrit language has compelled modern day literally critics to liken him to England’s Shakespeare (Kawachi, 2012). As such, he is undoubtedly the Shakespeare of India.
Is the comparison justified?
Kalidasa’s comparison to Shakespeare is indeed justified. Shakespeare was able to project the intricate aspects of Middle Ages England due to his ability to employ finesse in describing complexities of English society using the English language (Kawachi, 2012). As much as the Sanskrit language is so complex that there tends to be some clear differences between spoken and written forms, his poetic side made it easy for him to employ dramatic theory and rhetoric in a manner quite similar to Shakespeare (Kawachi, 2012). Kalidasa and Shakespeare appear to employ dramatic technique in prose and in verse in a very similar way.
Why is Shankutala considered one of the great classics of world literature?
The Shankutala drama has been marveled upon by literally scholars from all over the world. It is regarded as the most widely replayed Sanskrit drama in history and as such, has been translated into numerous other dialects (Johnson, 2013). The Shankutala is in essences regarded as one of the greatest classics of world literature as it serves to compel audiences to exhibit a variety of responses to tragedy, whether through fear, pity, or a host of other emotions. More so, the Shankutala serves to offer vital information to the overbearing questions readers tend to project upon reading the Mahabharata, an epic story, which portrays the majesty of ancient Hindu monarchs (Johnson, 2013).
Discuss with reference to the poetic and dramatic qualities of Shankutala
The Shankutala is in essence a skillful plays with a unique plot of frustrated love, which despite insurmountable challenges is finally redeemed much to the delight of its audiences the world over (Johnson, 2013). The play, comprised of seven acts, begins with comic relief right from its prologue through to the two subsequent acts prior to disintegrating to a tragic tale in the final three acts. The prologue, however, serves to show an illusionary picture that true love always triumphs. Given that the play is basically an imaginative endeavor towards creating some form of fictional reality, the application of elaborate poetic imagery is used. For instance, at the beginning of the play prior to meeting Shankutala, the king is apparently stopped from hunting a dear for sport which he obliges (Johnson, 2013). This scene sets the ball rolling to the play where the erotic scenery of the hermitage, realms of the Hindu gods and the ruler’s pleasure garden are expressed in richly descriptive language.
The relationship between the themes, values and world views expressed in the Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita
The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita are some of the two pieces of Hindu literature that have served to offer the world insights into the rich Hindu heritage (BBC, 2009). The Upanishads are found in the sacred Vedic scriptures while the Bhagavad Gita comprises of excerpts of the longest poem ever told, the Mahabharata (BBC, 2009). The Upanishads attempt to offer the hidden meanings of world reality with regard to religious texts but in a largely philosophical manner. On the other hand, the Bhagavad Gita is Indian scripture told in poetic forms.
A significant component of the Bhagavad Gita is the dialogue occurring between Krishna, an incarnate god with the capabilities to transform into other gods and Arjuna, a prince of the royal family (BBC, 2009). In this ancient text, the incarnate god encourages the stately prince to understand that it is his place in life to go through difficult situations in seeking the path to salvation. As such, being a warrior, Arjuna is encouraged to play his role in ensuring his family’s status in the kingdom is protected. The main theme here appertains to being duty bound to perform what one is tasked to do regardless of the challenges that may arise along the way (Sharma, 2014). This view is also common in other world cultures and as such, the religious inclination of the theme suggests that every human being is duty bound to exhibit loyalty to his or her creator.
The Hindu religion is awash with numerous rituals such that they may at times seem overbearing among its devotees. The Upanishads seek to enable such devotees to have a philosophical approach towards the deeper and complete understanding for the need for such rituals (BBC, 2009). As such, the information contained in the Upanishads was previously restricted to the priests in Hindu society as it was only the Brahmins or priestly class who were privy to its teachings. The Upanishads allowed for other castes to access knowledge towards greater knowledge of what the universe entails. These values are common today such that, information is shared among all in an effort to uplift values that allows for the social and spiritual development of humanity (Sharma, 2014).
BBC. (2009). Hinduism. The BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/hinduism/texts/texts.shtml
Johnson, W. J. (2013). Playing around with Śakuntalā: translating Sanskrit drama for performance. Asian Literature and Translation (ALT): A Journal of Religion and Culture, 1(2), 1-10.
Kawachi, Y. (2012). Shakespeare: The Indian Icon. Multicultural Shakespeare, 9(24), 86.
Sharma, R. (2014). Holistic Living in Globalized World: An Indian Perspective. Purushartha: A Journal of Management Ethics and Spirituality, 6(2).