Published: October, 2016
Not very often do I come across a contemporary written piece that discuss an important aspect of Indian history. Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Four Legged Scorpion by Rajesh Talwar is that rarity. This play set in pre-1947 and is based on real events, expressed to the readers through writer’s imagination.
The play introduces both Gandhi and Ambedkar, both are important figures in Indian History and politics, through significant events in their lives. In an opening scene Gandhi is shown to have been thrown off a train with his baggage. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s life also proves to be life changing.
The play shows Babasaheb as a young boy descending from a train, and how he and his siblings cannot travel to see their father because no cart driver is willing to take them there – all because they are Dalits.
Some of my readers may not be familiar with but the Indian society is negatively impacted by a long running battle of casteism. Consider it as another form of racism, a subset of very same. The difference here is that, people are discriminated by their names, family names etc. Till date, even in the modern India a country that surely posses more than 1.2 billion people, haven’t come over it.
The play is divided into three acts and to give the play a contemporary relevance, the story is narrated by three middle-aged intellectuals who belong to different communities: a Dalit Judge, a Muslim vice-chancellor and a Hindu Politician.
The book starts with a great introduction that will educate you enough on the topics it touches in three acts. The narration is strong and intense with fictional relevance to move the story ahead and retell a tale to the modern audience. This intense voice will help you read this play in a flow and with a pace and understand it better and appreciate the writing style. I think the writing style is professional and the strong narrative voice is the outcome of the author’s command on the storyline. Fictional characters evolve with the timeline of real incidents, however with only three acts there isn’t much for the characters to display.
I think India needs writers like Rajesh Talwar or more of his writing. He has professional and effortless way of writing that will have a lasting impact on reader’s mind as on mine. I am looking forward to read more of his works.
4 out of 5
About the Author
Rajesh Talwar is a lawyer and writer from India. He has written several books on the topics of law and human rights. He began working for the United Nations in various capacities. His work with the U.N. took him to places such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, Timor-Leste, Somalia and Liberia.
Disclaimer: I received a reading copy but that doesn’t have any impression on this review.
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