Chhahayar Prashad

Chhahayar Prashad
Written and directed by Manoj Mitra

Chhahayar Prashad

Synopsis -

A historical play with modern concerns

By Manoj Mitra

A giant canvas reflecting the era preceding the birth of Emperor Ashoka, Chhayar Prashad, presents Chanakya, Bindusar and even an infant Ashoka, but above all it captures an age of misrule. An age when the famous Ashokan Rajdharma establishing the paternal responsibility of the king for his subject's welfare "The king is the father, the subject sons" was unknown. An age when women, animals, non-Brahmins, the poor and physically challenged were at the total mercy of the people in power. When religious, political and social laws were more often instruments of oppression than good.

In focus are Dwaipayan (who as a transvestite seems to represent the Ardhanarishwar theory of perfection), his adopted daughter Subhadrangi, 'son' Bhola (a young bull) and untouchable tribal girl Hangshi. Helpless against persecution with no home or country to call their own, the marginalised still represent a power - the power of preservation and creation. With Chanakya's efforts to banish untouchability and the inroads of Buddhism the future seems to belong to them. The play ends with Subhadrangi (earlier raped by Bindusar) deciding to remain in the palace to protect her son Ashoka against all forces.