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Kolikaler Buli

Performed on November 20, 2009
at Rockville Civic Center in Maryland

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Kolikaler Buli - An Overview

Jogabrata Majumdar


Kolikaler Buli is a depiction of the ever-present struggle between evil and good, with a message that transcends beyond time. This struggle has prevailed over the ages, whenever evil has pervaded and the goodness of humanity has been awakened to resist it. Evil has emerged on the face of the earth in different periods of time, manifesting itself in different forms and shapes. But in the end, the eternal truth of human civilization has always prevailed by subjugating the evil. This is reflected in the philosophy of the civilized world, which preaches and urges to stand up against evil, irrespective of its form or shape.

The "Time", in our scriptures, is defined by four era or periods (Kal or Yuga) namely Satya, Treta, Dwapar and Koli. The different eras are identified by their specific characteristics and hence can be distinguished from one another on the basis of that. Lord Vishnu is believed to have incarnated in different forms through the Yugas, and these forms are considered to be distinguishing attributes of the four Kal or Yugas. In Satya Yuga, Vishnu was the king of this universe and TRUTH prevailed in its entirety. In Treta Yuga, Vishnu incarnated as Rama and fought with the evil Ravana. In Dwapar, Vishnu appeared as Lord Krishna and played a key role in destroying the evil authority of the Kauravas. He took the role of a chariot driver (Sarathi) and advised Arjuna when he was in a predicament whether to fight against his relatives namely Durjyodhana, Dushasan etc., in the great war of Kurukshetra. It is at this time that Krishna showed his power of destruction to Arjuna through "Viswarup Darshan".

In the present time, in accordance with our scriptures, we are in "Koli Kal". The course of human civilization is being diverted from its destiny and led towards darkness of ignorance. This era is marked by several devastating wars like the two world wars and so many others. But this did not happen overnight. Journey of our civilization was directed toward a perilous roadmap, at the cost of ethics and dignity of human being. The state-hood of powerful nations invaded other territories, instituted slavery, molested dignified identities of mankind, and they engaged in capturing all the wealth and exerting supremacy at the cost of nobility and reverence toward humanity. In spite of so many wars, world peace failed to prevail. With the advancement of science and technology, the world order took a dangerous path and nations became engaged in arms race, with a bitter competition in producing atomic bombs and finally stock piling of nuclear arsenals. A large portion of the nations' capital income was being appropriated for experimentation and production of atomic bombs and missiles, at the cost of poverty, sufferings from malnutrition, starvation and even death. This is the characterization of Koli Kal, as has been explained in the scriptures.

"Koli buli" is an excellent ideological satirical drama authored by the reputed dramatist Radha Raman Ghose, who clearly has a great knowledge of the history of human civilization and also has a vision for the future. Theater movement cannot move forward and serve its purpose if it is blind-folded from the course of our civilization, misleading the people in their understanding of current socio-economic/political issues, and hence failing to gear toward enlightenment and self-realization. Radha Raman Ghose was one of the few dramatists of our time who understood the true meaning of the theater movement and believed that theater could be used as a tool to mirror the flaws of the socio-economic and political structure of the modern world. "Koli buli" is a land-mark creation of this great author. It has been staged in Kolkata, and is highly acclaimed by the millions of drama-lovers there.

Our play Kolikaler Buli is an edited version of "Koli Buli". This play employs the "Epic Theater" feature of Brechtian drama style, and uses Brecht's "alienation effect". Epic Theatre is written as a seemingly disconnected, open-ended montage of scenes presented in a non-naturalistic, non-chronological way. The audience needs to arrive at its own conclusion of how the events are linked together. It presents a sequence of incidents or events that are presented without the restrictions of time, place or formal plot. The use of Brecht's "alienation effect", by applying anti-illusive techniques, reminds spectators that they are in a theatre watching an enactment of reality instead of reality itself. Brecht believed that theatre should appeal not to the spectator's feelings but to his reason. While still providing entertainment, it should be educative and capable of encouraging social change. Rather than the spectator identifying with the characters on stage and becoming emotionally involved with them, he preferred to persuade the audience to adopt a more critical attitude to what was happening on stage. The actors are required to exhibit an objective style of playing, to become in a sense detached observers. Brecht's technique of "historification," also used in Kolikaler Buli, comprises of projecting films and text on screens, forcing the audience to relate the action onstage to recent or other historical or social events.

Kolikaler Buli portrays the story of Hitlarian autocracy which appears time and again, and the sensible people who challenge the autocracy and fight back under the leadership of Lord Krishna, a symbolic character that is described in the Bhagavad Gita. This play sends a message to all dictators of the modern world that their days are numbered and the people under repression will no longer tolerate their autocratic rule. It signifies that the freedom of democracy is on the march with all the nations of the entire world waving their flags of democracy, and the bell of freedom is ringing.

Lord Krishna proclaimed himself the destroyer of evil and savior of mankind. He says to Arjuna, as narrated in the Bhagavad Gita, "Many lives here I passed through, as also have you. Many times I have been born, but I know all this, you do not know because you are an ordinary mortal under the spell of ignorance. I am a divine person; I know how many times I have been born." The famous slokas from the "Bhagavad Gita" manifests Lord Krishna's proclamations:

Yada yada hi dharmashya glanirbhabati bharata
Abhyuthanam dharmashya todmatmanam srijamyaham
Poritranayo sadhunang vinashayo cho dushkritam
Dharma sangsthapanarthayo sambhawami yuge yuge

Whenever righteousness declines, and unrighteousness prevails,
I body myself forth, assume human form and live as a human being.
In order to destroy the evil and also protect the righteous,
I incarnate Myself on this earth, time and again.




 
 

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