Silence,the court in session
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Introduction: Miss Benare , one of the finest creation of Vijay Tendulkar , is without the least shade of doubt the central figure around which action and movements in Silence ! The Court is in session is built. She is, in fact, definitely radiating through the entire play and impregnating all the other characters with her strong hold personality. Structurally and psychologically she is the unity of the play. With the towering personality of a successful teacher and an economically independent woman, as Miss Benare is, finds a blunt criticism and sexual harassment in the hands of middleclass and hypocrite male folk. Though at the Transit point she is trapped, her wrangling in the formulated phrase earns much sympathy and triumphantly declares a heroic fortitude.
Qui auroit detendu en lui tout imaginaire (Imaginary isnot simply the opposite of real ) : In the play we find two distinctive halves of dramatic personal in a state of collison with accepted norms . Before a theatrical performance they begin ‘a harmless game ‘ of mock trail. Miss Benare will be on trail. The accusation of infanticide against Benare is based party on conjecture, partly on hearsay. But rehearsal of mock trail becomes a real trail. It becomes a ‘ mouse trap ‘ for Benare. The hypocritical middleclass men like Kashikar, Sukhatme , Ponkshe and Karnik with their worthless middleclass sentiments take much fun of destitute , brutalized and humiliated Benare who is in fact a pregnant woman fathered by an absent culprit Prof Damle . In the prison house of hypocracy and selfishness and male domination Benare is in agonized cry Karnik adds: ‘ The crime itself is imaginary ‘ Samant reads a portion of a popular novel, a drawing parallel to Benare’s real life story. Benare denies: “It is all lie “. But she is in full tears what begins a time pass, ends in hard reality.
Benare’s final saying – her monologues: A teacher by profession, a village girl by root Benare is cheerful and jolly even at the age of 34. Benare’s independence and liveliness is concluded with a sense of disgust with her companions and the city. She wants to go far away with an unknown person. She has her will of her own. There is a hidden desire to escape from her unknown persons. AS the mock trail becomes a real trial, the atmosphere of the place becomes gloomy and tense. While Benare is satirizing the false pride and pretensions of the middleclass men folk, represented by her elderly colleagues. Perhaps, Benare has in mind a particular person who has wronged her and fled away like a coward. Her annoyance regarding the so called guardian of the society is severe. As an independent woman she needs the full control over her personal or private life. Her personal action can never be put into judgment by the male chauvinism.
Though her view is unorthodox view of individual, and slightly feminist’s view, her social conduct or having a baby in her womb without a rightful father puts her in the dock and becomes the target of male aggressors. But, finally, Benare speaks of her self and the dead silence is broken by her self assertive triumphant voice. The cry of her speech is that in spite of everything. She cannot fall out of love with life. As her life is denying love, marriage, child and happiness, she bursts into the following words: “Life is very dreadful thing. Life must be hanged. ‘ Na Jevana Jevanamarhati ‘ . Life is not worthy of life. Hold an enquiry against life – sack it from its job ” She is in search of purity and beauty which is infact an integrated essence of love of life. She has drunk ‘ the life to the less ‘ but unfortunately so gets the bitter cup of it too.
The end of the play records nursery rhymes in Benare’s mouth. The rhyme itself contains a parallel to Benare story. Here the sparrow laments the loss of her nest which the crow has forcefully stolen, how the crow shrugs off the responsibility and looks indifferent. The patriarchal society and their voices are the proverbial crow to Benare. Benare only searches after her peaceful nest, ‘ a room of one’s own ‘. Benare sings the nursery rhymes where the parrot has lost her nest alike her: ” Oh my dear friend, what shall I say? Someone has stolen my nest away”
Conclusion: Ibsen’s play A Doll’s House ends with the heroine leaving her home, her husband, and even her children to go and face an uncertain future in a world about which she knows next to nothing. It has been Nora’s violent protest against the masculine supremacy in a society and the dramatist’s final design of his point of view. Benare in Tendulkar’s play does nothing so serious but mutely repudiates the existing social values and masculine
supremacy. Indeed through Benare, Tendulkar inspects the values of feminine self in a male – dominated society, particularly in India.
SILENCE THE COURT IS IN SESSION
The original title of the play is SHANTATA! COURT CHALU AHE. The words of the title are very common in law courts where the honourable judges pronounce the words to bring back order and decorum if the parties concerned or the mob present in the court become unruly or create chaos and commotion. In other words the very words SILENCE THE COURT IS IN SESSION indicate the absolute authority of the judge in the court room to decide upon the manners of others. The judge has also the final authority to pronounce contempt of court in case of breach of discipline. In a civilized society the court system is in vogue for the sake of justice. The judiciary is considered to be one of the four main pillars of democracy.
In the present play Vijay Tendulkar chooses a term of judicial register as the title of his play to make a powerful comment on a society with a heavy patriarchal bias that makes justice impossible and that converts the august judicial system into an instrument of oppression of women and the vulnerable. Ideally justice can be provided only if the judge and the judicial system are objectively detached. But the same objective detachment can become the face of a very repressive and dehumanized system if the persons involved in the process of justice are themselves devoid of human value and compassion.
In the present play we find how Benare becomes the victim of sadism of his male counterparts. The audience is made to witness a mere enactment of what is a rehearsal of sorts of a mock-trial to be staged later in the day. But what begins as a harmless game begins to assume a grim aspect before long.
At first all the characters vie to be the accused in the mock-trial. Then, on Sukhatme’s suggestion they decide to make Benare the accused. It is notable that Benare is allotted the role of accused in her absence. Benare is young, energetic, vivacious rebellious and individualistic and defies established social conventions and dictates. She is a young school teacher and through her consciousness the hypocrisy of the male-dominated middle-class society and its brutal hostility against women is exposed. In Silence! The Court is in Session, Tendulkar has depicted the difficulty of a young woman, who is a victim of the male dominated society.
Tendulkar has criticized the follies prevailing in the society. It is a powerful satire on the shallow conventions and the shameful hypocrisy of the middleclass male-dominated society and also the deplorable legal system found in contemporary society. By using the techniques of dramatic irony and satire effectively the playwright portrays how a young woman suffers a lot and undergoes deep mental agony when she is betrayed by the other members of the group. The play carries all the vitalities of contemporary life. It focuses on the human mind and detects the ugliness in it. All the plays of Tendulkar are the result of his surveillance of the life, society and different incidents of his own life. Benare wanted to live a free life, free from the patriarchal dominance and the conservative norms of the society. She displays self-determination, self -assertiveness and cynicism but is also receptive to the conventional norms of integrity. Tendulkar has tried to initiate the new form by commenting on the mendacity of the social and ethical standards existing in the society. The play grapples with several problems of the Indian society—such as the degradation of the judiciary system, pretentious institutional social service organizations, and forceful male supremacy in Indian society, in a masterful way.