Girish Karnad, Rakshasa-Tangadi. Dharwada: Manohara Grantha Mala, 2018 Reviewed by C. N. Ramachandran, Formerly Prof. at Mangalore University, Mangalore
Robert Sewell, a civil servant in India, wrote A Forgotten Empire, in 1900, a historical narrative on the Vijayanagara empire. Owing to its framework of colonial discourse ('Vijayanagara: Hindu bulwark against Islamic onslaught' ) and his emotive language (“Never perhaps in the history of the world has such havoc been wrought, and wrought so suddenly, on so splendid a city”) the book became very influential. Literally, scores of stories, novels and plays in Kannada and Telugu were written faithfully following Sewell's model. However, after Sewell, since new sources and bakhairs came to light/ got translated into English, historians and scholars in the post-colonial period began to have a re-look at the Medieval period. Girish Karnad's latest play, Rakshasa-Tangadi, belongs to this tradition of postcolonial discourse. The brilliant play not only offers a new perspective on the battle of Rakkasa Tangadi but also does away with popular myths and legends about the decisive battle.
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