Epic Conflict

Was Eklavya, the warrior from the Mahabharata, an obedient student or a victim of caste hierarchy. Or both. Scholars have differed and debated on his significance over the years. Chandigarh-based theatre group Fools Paradise now delves into the story in Guru Dakshina, a play written by Deen Dayal Verma and directed by Mohneesh Kalyan. "The play is a satire on the caste system in Indian society and also on the donation system in education. We have used body movement, live music and classical Indian dance on stage to give the play a new depth,'' explains Kalyan.

The group is well known for experimenting with various themes and subjects on stage for the past eight years. This story begins with Eklavya aspiring to be a student of Guru Dronacharya, but is turned away because he belongs to a lower caste.

Eklavya embarks on a programme of teaching himself archery, with a clay statue of Drona being his inspiration. Drona eventually comes to know about Eklavya's gift, determination and demands Eklavya's right thumb as guru dakshina.

Watch the play at Punjab Kala Bhawan, Sector 16, on February 7 at 6.55 pm

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