Karnad's Yayati : A Study in the Eternal Conflicts of Mankind.

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Kavita Arya


With Vijay Tendulkar and Badal Sirkar, Girish Karnad is among the
three greatest dramatists of post-independent Indian theatre. His most notable
plays are Yayati, Nag-Mandala, Hayavadan and The Fire and the Rain. Yayati,
his first play, was written initially in Kannad in 1961. For this play he received the
Karnatak State award.
Karnad was not a simple entertainer. His plays serve to instruct,
entertain and enlighten, but there is also a purpose. Through his plays he tries to
give his audience an exalted sense of duty with happiness, peace of mind and
upliftment of moral values. In Karnad's view, only then can a human being be
relieved of the sorrow and pain that he is subjected to in his endless run for
pleasures. To achieve it, Karnad draws from the rich store of Indian mythological
stories and the collective wealth of inherited culture and recreates the characters
and old stories in a new way. He presents them as they originally are and also
changes them completely. His genius for fusion of the mythology and modernity
is unparalleled. The Yayati of Karnad is the best example of his creative concern,
purpose and dramatic art. The human heart is never satiated; its endless craving
for more and more pleasure leads it to tragedy. One fine example of this
predicament is the story of king Yayati. The present paper would endeavor to
study some important aspects of Karnad's Yayati in comparison with the original
mythological story as also with the novel of same name by Vishnu Sakharam

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