Telling It Through A Mask: The Mask of Vrita in Girish Karnad’s The Fire and the Rain.

Labiba Alam


As opposed to the western notion of representation which attributes little significance to ‘spectacle’, the same becomes an indispensable imperative in Indian dramaturgy. The birth of Bharata’s Natyashastra throws ample light on the rich Indian dramatic tradition that finds itself illustrated in the classical Sanskrit plays. The Natyashastra is believed to be the first ever Indian treatise on dramaturgy, dance and music. It incorporates all the elements like abhinaya (acting), mukhabhinaya (facial expression), gestures, natya, nart, with the feelings or states of mind (bhavas) and the sentiments born out of these feelings (rasas). However, the authorship of this treatise is still a debatable issue. Although traditionally sage Bharata Muni is attributed with its authorship, the Natyashastra is believed to be divinely conceived by Lord Indra. It is he who, in order to maintain order in the cosmos, sought Brahma’s help to compile such a text that would not only entertain the people on earth, but also instruct them in the  most convincing way. If one looks at the authorship of this text, it indicates that the roots of drama in the Indian context are

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