‘Dramatic Realism’ means ‘objective experience’ and ‘social truth’ and in that drama becomes a powerful weapon for exposing and demolishing social evils and injustices. As an anti-establishment artist Mahasweta Devi always committed herself socially and ethically in order to give voice to the marginalized and the downtrodden. Like Shaw she employed drama not merely for faithful documentation of contemporary social evils, but as active medium for revolting against authority and other social constraints. The play Mother of 1084 (1997), actually a translation of her early Bengali novel, titled Hajar Churasir Ma, conscious of the political happenings of Naxalite Bengal, focuses on the exploitation and deprivation of the tribal and the marginalized people, the landless and the curse of landlordism and feudalism, and aboveall the neglected and subjugated fate of women. The plot, a diatribe against decadent social institutions articulates ‘the awakening of an apolitical mother’, which has an urban middle class setting. Through Brati’s (the protagonist) whose commitment to the revolutionary Communist ideology led to his killing in an ‘encounter’, self-sacrifice the dramatist debunked the ‘spent-up intellectuals’, ‘cocktail parties’, the meaningless ‘God-men’ and the so called radicals. Somehow the play mirrors the whole gamut of a hypocritical culture with its brooding over the Bangladesh war, amorous scandals, a world of ‘affluence’, of ‘pseudo-religion’, selfishness, of drinking, whoring and abnormal relationships. Yet in Sujata, the deprived mother, ‘a new woman is born’. Sujata’s past life, her isolation, her philandering husband, her unwanted motherhood all ultimately ends up in her self-realization which itself becomes a convenient and powerful protest against the rotten societal value system.
Key Words Social reality, problem play, anti-establishment, political, subaltern, Naxalite, anguish, revolution, power struggle, socialism.