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International Journal of English Language

& Translation Studies

Journal homepage:
http://www.eltsjournal.org

Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos


[PP: 66-75]
Somnath Barure
P. G. Dept. of English
Vasantrao Naik Govt. Institute of Arts and Social Sciences
Nagpur, India
ARTICLE INFO ABSTRACT

Article History Influence and Borrowing are still seen with suspicion in the literary circles
The paper received on: in India and abroad. In fact, both these tools have proved their inevitability in
30/10/2014 the creation and study of literary works and other arts in the present time.
Accepted after peer- There are innumerable examples of unparallel creations resulted as an effect
review on: of influence of some other art or based on some borrowed idea. Mahesh
04/12/2014 Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion (Wada Chirebandi) is claimed to have been
Published on: based on borrowed ideas by critics. Even after this criticism, this play claims
07/12/2014 its share for raising certain questions and provoking discussions on various
issues from all angles in the Indian society. It exposes the truth behind the
Keywords: stone walls of feudal mansions in the rural parts of India. The play is not just a
Old Stone Mansion, story of one such feudal lord in the name of Deshpande, but attempts to bring
Post-colonialism, into focus the changed socio-economic condition of Indian society in the post-
Feudalism, colonial period. It locates the lasting battle in-between the ages long cultural
Modernism, values and harsh global realities in the present time, with fall of the former.
Indian Literature, This paper attempts to investigate the end of an ethos with the end of
Culture (ethos) feudalism in India. The reasons for the fall have been discussed with ample
evidences from the play itself, so as to support the statement of research. Fall
of the mansion is evident in course of time, but fall of values and of the
innocents is pathetic, forms the basis of the research problem. Paper also
sheds light on the day-to-day changes seen in Indian ethos and marks its
evident transformation in the play.

Suggested Citation:
Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International Journal of English
Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

1. Introduction had, with the justification given to the same


My first reading of Wada Chirebandi, a charge by Ravindra Kimbahune, in his
play by Elkunchwar in Marathi, knocked at preface to the famous book, ‘Shodh
that door of my own self which connects me Elkunchwaranchya Natyakrutincha’ by
to the tradition inside deep. Perhaps, same Sanjay Arvikar (2001) in Marathi. Where
thing happens with all those who have not the renowned critic says-
yet cut off their cultural roots in the false “We should not give too much of importance
praise of ‘Modernity’. In a way, I could see, to the influence seen in some work of an
something very objectively and effectively author, of some other work/ author/
expressed, continuously happening around, technique/trend or theory. Rather, one should
examine how the author transforms that
in the ‘Postcolonial period’, and even now,
influence into his own act of creation. How
but not taken seriously. This wada of much this influence helped in finding his self
Deshpandes is just a symbol. Actually, and moving beyond it in an act of creation?
Deshpandes here are the representatives of One should focus on why in a particular
the vast ‘Indian Cultural Ethos’. More or period creative writer/s borrow and perform
less, today same is the condition of under the influence of some western theory
traditional old mansions in the rural areas of or technique, should be discussed in detail,
India (not only in Maharashtra), despite of but, unfortunately we don’t.” (p. 09)
change in the castes and creed. In course of (Translation from Marathi)
reading some secondary sources, I came Answers to these problems in Indian
across the comparison made in-between context can be found in the chaotic and
‘Chekhovian Drama’, especially his master confusing mentality of the young generation
piece, The Cherry Orchard and Old Stone during the Post-Independence/ Postcolonial
Mansion. For a few days, I too had an period. Most of it is due to, divorce with our
opinion of borrowed ideas and techniques grand history and culture and not having
from the west, for no reason. But, often the courage to accept the crumbling reality
crumbling image of Wada, appeared, and around. Reason behind discussing all these
reappeared before my eyes since, my first things is, when one looks into the journey of
reading of the play. It is late, when I came the dramatist from beginning till the point
across certain things mentioned about the when he wrote Wada Chirebandi, it
play by some renowned critics satisfied me, becomes very clear, the journey started
and I responded to the time and again projecting material riches (outward), with
haunting image of Wada Chirebandi and hollow inner world in his plays Sultan, Holy,
read by heart, the original play in Marathi Party and now, his getting inclined towards
and its translation in English, by Kamal the inside-out rich and real creation of wada
Sanyal, published by Seagull Books, and the rest of all after that, which is worth
Calcutta in 1989. of paying attention and, natural too.
During this phase of reading, and 2. About the Playwright
rereading of the play, and criticism on the Mahesh Elkunchwar is an Indian Marathi
same, especially in Marathi and even, in playwright, born in 1938, in the Vidarbha
English, I feel, I got answers to the questions region of Maharashtra. He wrote more than
rambling in my mind about borrowing the fifteen plays in Marathi. Some of his famous
technique by the playwright, and originality plays are, Sultan, Holy, Party in the first
of the ideas. The most of my satisfaction I phase and his famous Wada Chirebandi a

Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 67
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

part of his Natyatrai of which a whole new experience of political freedom,


Mandtalyakathi and Yougant form the rest in new ideologies (of development, for instance,
second phase. His name is equally known or economic freedom and self-reliance in
among the important names of playwrights many post colonial societies) and new
agendas. The sovereign nation-state now
like, Vijay Tendulkar and Satish Alekar. He
asserts its independence by preparing its own
won many national and international awards programme for social and economic and
like, “Sahitya Academy Award”, “Saraswati social development, and by generating its
Samman” and “Birmingham Fellowship”. own, newer cultural forms (albeit influenced
Translations of the play Wada Chirebandi by the colonial experience) where previously
as, Old Stone Mansion in English, Virasat in it had been decided and administered by the
Hindi and Uttaradhikar into Bengali are the European colonial power. The problem with
evidences of the popularity of the play and the term ‘postcolonial’ is that European
the playwright. In this paper, I plan to re- colonialism becomes the determining
read the play in the light of –isms from the moment of the non-European country. All
western world on one hand and the play as cultures are placed in history as ‘before
European colonization’ or, ‘after European
an ethos crumbling on the other.
colonization’. (p. 08)
3. Contemporary Trends, Old Stone
Here point is, the impact of colonial rule
Mansion and Its Fall
we cannot neglect, and we may not afford
There has been a trend of looking towards
neglecting many other things. In fact, they
authors and their creations through western
form the soul of these works of art. The way
glasses (-isms), and not false if this trend has
in Old Stone mansion, we see, the losing
got a very solid reason in the age of
battle wada fights, is a battle in between the
globalization. One cannot look at things in
old feudalism and commercialism/capitalism
isolation in the Post-colonial period.
in the post-colonial period. Tatyaji, the
Colonial rule in many countries whether
supreme authority in Deshpande family buys
proved boon, or curse is a hot and never
a tractor to accept modernization, but,
ending topic of discussion. Though, there is
neither could he use it, nor could he give on
no end to this discussion but, one thing we
rent due to opposition by the outside world
should accept, it shaped our imagination, in
and inner as well. Had it been the solution to
the sense that, we became aware of our
the situation, there would not have been the
independence, independence of thought, of
fall. That tractor becomes a symbol of
political rule and of everything, slowly. So,
prestige (false) for the wada but, of no use.
life of the colonized, even after
Rather, it becomes a hindrance in the
decolonization, is not free of the influences
courtyard to which, Chandu got broken his
of the previous phase. Same thing can be
toe and Anjali got her sari torn. After
found in literature. Pramod Nayar (2008),
independence, people had diverse opinions
very aptly comments on the identities of the
about the colonizers. Those, who were on
colonies/colonized after decolonization
the margin, gained a voice of their own.
while explaining the term Postcolonial in his
They go on appreciating the advances of the
book in the words-
colonial rule. The colonial principles of
The ‘postcolonial’ specifies ‘a transformed
historical situation, and the cultural ‘Liberty’ and ‘Equality’ worked for them to
formations, that have arisen in response to breathe fresh air (to some extent). Examples
changed political circumstances in the former from the text can be cited of ‘Gaja’, the
colonial power’. The ‘Postcolonial’ describes cook. His father and grandfather served for
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 68
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

the Deshpande family throughout their lives. past. More than the colonial rule, here in the
He too did the job for some time but, now he play, fate of these souls proves to be the
has joined a cook’s job in a hotel. So, even cause of their fall. So, instead of looking
after request he did not return to the mansion towards Old Stone Mansion and the texts
during the time of peace finding, this change like that, as postcolonial texts only, it will be
could be seen in the social order in the more justifying if we look at them as texts
postcolonial period. Bhaskar though first.
becomes angry but, he can’t pay equally The play is about a traditional mansion, ‘a
what Gaja get’s in the hotel. Same is the symbol of aristocracy’ in the rural areas.
thing with Bansilal, the grocer, one who Since ages, the mansion and its habitants
came from Marwar, with only a water jug of ruled the people around. No one challenged
his own. It is due to the Deshpandes, he its supremacy, in social, economic, political
could settle, but, he forgot all that. With this, or cultural life. In the modern period, with
the playwright proved that ‘brutality is the newly arrived democratic principles, people
basic nature of human beings’. Bansilal did who lived under the rule of this mansion
not spare time to get done the ‘Mantras’ for started living as per their will, and had
the peace of departed soul and destroyed a opportunities as well to stand on their feet
part of the mansion. straight. This was a blow, to the traditional
Literature in 19th century Europe is also setting of the society and the mansion as
featured with one more –ism, i.e. realism. In well, and here it started the process of social
Indian, and especially in Marathi literature, a collapse, collapse of an ethos.
few examples of literary works, having The play is not just a story of the four
realism as its base could be seen through generations of the Deshpandes of
Baba Padmanji’s Yamuna Paryatan and Dharangaon, from Vidarbha region, but it is
Hari Narayan Apte’s novels. But, to have its the story of so many traditional mansions
blooming period, readers had to wait till one and generations, of people lived in those
or two decades after independence mansions throughout the country. In this
(postcolonial period). So, applying various respect Elkunchwar, the playwright, reminds
western theories to the literary works from how the idea of Virasat (Hindi translation of
Indian soil may not prove that beneficial. Wada Chirebandi) came to Satyadev
Equally, its complete denial will be an Dubey-
injustice to the thought and its influence on Satyadev Dubey…..told me about a feudal
the author/work. family that owned a tractor but never used it.
Education in 20th century proved the Slowly it sank into the courtyard. The tractor
governing force behind everything in human was destroyed and so was the family. It was
this image that started me off to Virasat.
life. In the play, Deshpande family never
[www.tribuneindia.com]
ignored the same. Sudhir had the best of it.
The feudal families had to face the harsh
He made use of the same and got settled in
realities of the changes in social order
Bombay. Whereas, Prabha fell on the throne
during and after British Raj. Then, mostly it
of patriarchy and remained in darkness
was with Brahmin families, but now the
throughout, despite, her first class in 10 th.
picture is quite true with almost all families
The question disturbs is, benefitted Sudhir
in Indian society. Previously, it happened
and not benefitted Prabha, in no way could
only with feudal families, but now,
stop the fall of the mansion and its grand
irrespectively happening with all those,
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 69
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

indulged traditionally in agriculture. Then Prabha with their daughter-in-laws Vahini


and even now, those, who understood the (Bhaskar’s wife) and Anjali (Sudhir’s wife)
change and adjusted, survived. Those who form the third generation. Parag, Ranju and
don’t, or can’t, crumbled. Through the Abhay are the fourth generation members in
Deshpandes, the playwright exposes the the play.
transitional state, through which these First and second generations have enjoyed
families are passing. In the play, the the golden period of the mansion. Tatyaji, in
playwright remains still telling the truth his last days only, witnessed the change in
through the dialogues. The playwright social order. After Tatyaji, Bhaskar took
neither discussed nor suggested, through any charge of the mansion, and the mansion had
character or technique a remedy for the a new owner in the hours of transition and
problem. His is a role of a historian- telling fall. To depict fall of feudal families, is not
‘so happened’. But he elucidated, while the only intention of the playwright, behind
speaking at ‘Natya Shodh Sansthan’, the creation of the play. The fall of the
Calcutta- traditional riches, due to both, the ills, this
I was gradually may be changing…..I think I grand ethos had, behind its strong stone
am now a different person…….In those walls on one side, and its negligence
seven quiet, silent years I had seen what had towards the change in social order on the
been happening all this while in the other. It is just not the loss of physical glory,
aristocratic families in small places…. had
that the mansion experienced, but the
been watching the process of social collapse
that is the fate of these families. I had seen
society also lost its treasure of age old
many Wadas crumbling down, people getting principles of emotions, feelings, sentiments,
buried and yet not wanting to come out of the selfless love, affinity and sacrifice for one
shambles.[Recording at NSS] another. In the true sense of the word, Old
The playwright also admits his being Stone Mansion makes the reader feel that
part of the play, for, being the soul witness loss, in the age of nuclear families and
of the process of change (decline). In one of commercial attitude.
his interviews by Shubhada Shelke he The playwright not directly, but points out
reveals- certain ills of this culture. After Tatyaji’s
I came from the Wada culture, the son of a death we come to know that, Prabha and
Zamindar, born in a Wada. But, ‘luckily’ my Tatyaji never talked. Prabha considered her
family did not face the same decline because father; an obstacle she had on her way and
my father was wise. He made us learn, and had nothing else remained in her hand but
cautioned us…you will not get the land. You repentance. No one in the family can take
should not live here, I will not feed you. All one’s own decision. In a way, ‘patriarchy
of us brothers got out. Only one stayed back
paved the way for the fall’, in the later
to look after the place.
period or at least it contributed something in
In the life of the playwright, it worked but,
the inevitability of decline and fall. In his
with Deshpande family could not. The first
last days, Tatyaji repented in front of Aai,
generation in the play is been shown through
regarding his decisions about Prabha. The
the character of Dadi. The play opens with
saying, ‘Evil once done is done, no one can
her, calling her no more son, Venkatesh
make it undone’, is quite appropriate here.
(Tatyaji). Tatyaji and Aai are the
Once there had been a chance for Prabha to
representatives of second generation. Their
continue with her studies but, Ranju,
children, Bhaskar, Sudhir, Chandu and
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 70
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

Bhaskar’s daughter, eloped with her English to get it done. Anjali, his wife too added by
tutor stealing all jewelry of the family, and saying that, it is very difficult to visit this
hope of Prabha is shattered forever. The place often hereafter, and Abhay (their son)
playwright here, very skillfully traced the too, had no liking for this place and people.
persistent loss of these innocent souls. This These characters in different rooms are busy
loss seems a result, less of their faults and with planning their self. All of them have
more of their fates. Deshpandes often forgotten (made them forget by the destiny)
worked leaving something for their fate to about the transitional phase wada is passing
complete. Poor Prabha didn’t get an through. Perhaps, they have understood the
opportunity and Ranju kicked the same with certainty of collapse, so, they are trying to
foolishness. save their self. Sudhir, the most capable
The fourth and last generation of the among them is well to do, when asked for
family is also, almost destroyed. Parag, Son some amount for the ceremony replies in the
of Bhaskar, fall a prey to bad habits but, he text-
is ready to change, if given an opportunity. Chandu: Sudhir…..Bhau sent me back to
At the same time, Abhay, son of Sudhir, you. (Confused) He asked for seven or eight
declares, he won’t allow Parag to enter their hundred rupees if you can spare it.
family. The way he responds his father, is Sudhir: (Sudhir looks at Anjali. She looks at
him. As soon as their eyes meet she turns
the completion of all wrongs done to the
away.) Seven or eight hundred? I was in such
family. a great hurry to get here after receiving the
Selfishness has always been the cause telegram that I had no time to go to the
behind crumbling the wada ethos in India. bank… (p.14)
The members of Deshpande family are not Actually, they don’t feel like doing
going to be an exception for the same. something by heart for the Mansion, for its
Bhaskar could not control himself from tradition. On the other side, Bhaskar, one
taking charge of everything, soon after who is responsible being the head of the
Tatyaji’s death. He also takes charge of the family, is busy in snatching other’s share.
traditional gold of the family, and plans to This all in the end results in getting punished
exploit all. We have a very heart-breaking by their fate. The very night, when all of
scene in act two where, Bhaskar with Vahini them were discussing the share in family
and the box containing gold, is planning to gold, Ranju (Bhaskar’s daughter) eloped
hide it, and Vahini too could not resist her with her English tutor leaving them all to
temptation to put on, all the gold ornaments repent for their selfish behavior. Next day,
and become one with the tradition of the when they woke up, only to know that
wada. In an another room, Aai and over 35 everything is been lost and had to forget
year old, unmarried, Prabha talking, Prabha about the share, and work together to save
is requesting and planning her education on the prestige of the wada. The playwright,
the basis of her share in the same gold, here here very skillfully brings their fall at the
she somehow could convince Aai, and Aai hands of English tutor, one, who is never
could see Prabha, her only daughter, present on the scene and only talked about,
laughing after many days. In the third room, sarcastically. At this time, reaction of Aai is
Sudhir and Anjali, (husband and wife) are worth of noticing. Her words have meaning
also gathering courage to ask for their share beyond their physical appearance in the text-
in the family gold. This time, he has decided
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 71
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

Aai: Let the gold go. It’s a nuisance any way. and end. Even if there is nothing meaningful
As long as the girl is found, God help us. Let to live with and for, one has to lead it. All the
not the Deshpade honour be further torn to Deshpandes are the pilgrims on this way in
shreds. darkness, making the play timeless and
Chandu: Aai everything is lost. characterless to which, Anton Chekov calls
Aai: Good. The source of all trouble is gone. ‘Drama of Situation and Indirectness’. (p.
Root of all quarrels. It’s good that it is all 108) [Translation from Marathi]
lost. Thus, the play proves to be the tragedy of
Chandu: Now what? Aai? innocent, sacred and helpless souls at the
Aai: Arrey, Chandu. Did we earn it? Wasn’t hands of destiny. The playwright here
all the Deshpande splendor based on the reveals his thought of uselessness and
sweat of someone or the other? It’s good that
foolishness of the being of these characters
it is lost. It’s gone back to where it came
in the play. With this angle, the play proves
from. (p. 51-52)
These words remind us a part, of the to be under the influence of Existential
everlasting philosophy proclaimed in philosophy. Of course, reasons for absurdity
Bhagwadgeeta, (the pious Hindu scripture) and questioning the very existence are
tinged with harsh reality in the play. Aai’s different at its origin (of the theory) and in
words justify the deeds of her own children Indian context. But, the thread of darkness
and of the entire mansion. In fact these connects the souls in trouble, irrespective of
words don’t remain of Aai’s only; they their countries, religion, race, culture etc.
become an epitome of realism. Further, this In the play, Dadi is seen often waiting for
acceptance by Aai makes them all nude for her end. As if she has given up her wish to
their selfishness. live, she has nothing to do with the
Though, decline of feudalism and joint happenings in the mansion. She is just a
family culture seems to be the subject of this human clock stopped working and lost its
play at surface level, it focuses more on self. Symbolically it shows stopped time of
inner darkness of the human souls. Neither the mansion as well. When the characters
Bhaskar, Sudhir, Chandu, Prabha, Vahini find nothing meaningful in their acts, they
and Anjali quarrel with one another going accept their inability and helplessness,
that far nor, they wail for the loss. They are perhaps, more than that their fate. In this
angry, disheartened but, don’t have the respect, the character of Prabha in the play
courage to break the blood-ties. Why this could be seen. She is so eager to get out of
happens with them? Whether they think, the mansion, she says-
Prabha: Let me get out of here, Aai. Please.
there is no other option for them or, they This Mansion will devour me. I feel
have accepted, this is what life is. There is suffocated in the darkness of this place. Let
no satisfactory answer to these questions. me go to Amravati, Aai, please. (p. 45)
This is the absurdity of life. Life has always As mentioned before, either these
been of same kind, full of troubles and characters have foreseen the fall, or they
darkness. While describing this absurdity in have understood their abilities, so they are
the lives of characters in the play and human willing to leave the mansion. On the other
life in general, Dr. Sandhya Amrute (1995) hand there are characters like Aai and
in her book opines- Chandu, who never think of running away.
Absurdity has always been the feature of They have all the courage to face the reality.
human life in all ages. To live with troubles
is life, without knowing its exact beginning
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 72
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

They seem to be very strong at heart and Tradition is their soul, and often experienced
very well connected to their roots. throughout the play. But, to survive, one has
However inable, selfish, disgraceful these to keep pace with changing time. Here the
members of the Deshpande family seem mansion fell short. In-between, the
overtly, but, they are very pious, characters seemed to be struggling, but
affectionate, accepting, humble and loving proved their efforts poor to come out with
souls inside. If the mansion had seen a grand success. Exceptionally, Aai and Chandu are
past, it is due to the values among these found in that deep silence even at hard time.
members. Now, the time is of the kind, In a way, they have learned to accept things
nothing can stop the fall. Decline and fall of with all good and evils. Once, while
the mansion though, was natural, but the fall consoling Prabha, Aai says-
of the traditional human values, a treasure of Aai: Prabha, sorrow is not something one
Indian culture since ages crumbled, was the puts on display. It belongs to oneself. When
fate of these poor souls. So, if Elkunchwar it is unbearable- there are many dark rooms
says, ‘I had seen Mansions crumbling down, in this Mansion where one can go and shed
tears. Quietly. All Deshpande women have
people getting buried under and still not
done that…when, I could not get happiness, I
wanting to come out of the shambles’- is myself waved good bye to it, if you do not
true. Why they would wish to come out and get something you want, its best to reject it,
face the hard time? Everything they do for my dear. (p. 43)
their survival had to be done by the back With this simple attitude, she (Aai) lets us
door. One such instance from the play, when have the experience of selflessness and
Sudhir asks Bhaskar about selling utensils of ability to face the reality, while at the same
brass and copper, Bhaskar replies- time caring too much for her children. She
Bhaskar: Do you think we were happy to sell does everything possible to provide peace to
the utensils? All of them carried the names of
the departed soul of her husband. No one but
our grand- and great-grand p a r e n t s but the
times were such.
she did the expanses for both the rituals. To
Sudhir: But you should have informed feed the village, she sold her share of the
me….. property. The character of Chandu also,
Bhaskar: I did not buy an estate out of the though, may not seem important but, is the
sale, I can tell you. Arrey, if we want to sell true ‘progenitor’ of traditional values. He
pots and pans, can we go to the bazaar openly never thinks of himself. Even, Aai knows
like other people? It had to be done very him being so straightforward and simple.
secretly, without a whisper, by the back door. She cares only about him in the end. Once
The pretence of our prestige had to be kept she says, “Aai: Chandu, all the others will
intact. (p. 29) manage. But, what will become of you?” (p.
It is very difficult on the part of these 52).
characters, their pretentions, what they are In the end, only one member of the family
not in reality. They are in a sense, bowed seems survived; at least not that destroyed,
down due to the weight of grand past and is Sudhir. Because, he has developed his
caught in a mesh of two opposite things, own world not based on the traditional
‘tradition and modernity’. The playwright in mansion in Bombay. But, he too, when
the play very aptly has shown this, with the observed properly, seems so closely
symbol of ‘Tractor’ in the courtyard and the connected to the mansion. He has no
‘Palanquin’ in the backyard of the mansion. courage to speak Bhaskar, regarding his
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 73
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

share due to the fear of getting broken the keeping pace with time that turned its enemy
relations, rather which is not the culture of in the future. These mansions also neglected
the mansion. Once he gathers courage and the social change around them in time which
says, “Sudhir: Why do you think we come contributed into their fall. The playwright
here? It’s this mansion that keeps calling us. with fall of the mansion also directs our
We come running, if this goes, then our attention towards the inner darkness in the
home is gone”. (p. 35) souls of the characters. Selfish behavior of
Even a thought of mortgaging the mansion the characters pioneered the way and
hurts Sudhir. He is so intact with the life in contributed in the fall of the mansion is the
the Mansion. Further, when Anjali advises mood sometimes but, the other time it
him about the share, and angrily asks him to appears evident. Their tragedy seems to be
give them the all, he replies- at the hands of their destiny. As said by
I’m not going to do anything of the kind. As Chekov, Old Stone Mansion is a drama
long as there is something that belongs to me (tragedy) of situations. The mansion seems
here, I can come with proprietary right. to be caught into the mesh of tradition and
Come here and stay or else, tomorrow even modernity, Palanquin and Tractor in the
Parag will consider me a stranger. (Pause)
back and front yard of the mansion
May be some day we shall leave those
symbolizes this situation in the play. The
crowded two room in Bombay and come and
stay here. (p. 41) members of the family could not respond to
This proves, Sudhir, though seems aloof the times in the required manner is their
and green compared to others in the play, inability or destiny which remains
but inside he too, is that dry part of the unanswered.
Mansion, and its extinguished tradition. The Whatever may be the causes behind, but
play comes to an end, with an intense and loss of the treasure of relations full of
broken call by Chandu to Sudhir, is very emotions, sentiments, feelings from the
much emotional, everyone, who is known to bottom of heart, love, sacrifices is
and has been a part of the same, will stop for irreparable. The playwright underlines the
a while, and pay tribute to the loss of improbability of its survival through its
traditional grand ethos of the mansion, of fourth generation. Parag, Abhay and Ranju
which he was an integral part sometime ago. are the members, all of them different.
In the last scene, Aai too is shown like Dadi, Those who got the opportunity missed it and
rather she becomes of the kind is very others remained waiting for the same. Fall of
sentimental. In short, the play locates the the mansion marks the fall of the age of
end of an ethos physically, for the reason; traditional families with co-existence.
members of the mansion are still Members of these families
emotionally attached. Perhaps, the changing willingly/unwillingly make a choice of
time someday, would put an end to that nuclear family in the city of crowds. These
attachment too, is the feeling that hurts by new families neither have place to
the end. accommodate their blood ties nor have
4. Conclusion liking for their roots. Finally, the destiny is
Thus, Old Stone Mansion brings an all there to be blamed at for the loss of these
pervasive issue of the fall of the ages long innocent souls and the ethos as a whole.
wada culture in India. This ethos in the About the Author:
Indian context had ill practices of not
Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 74
IJ-ELTS Volume: 2 Issue: 4 October-December, 2014

Somnath Barure did his M. A. from University References:


of Pune and has 09 years of teaching experience Amrute, Sandhya (1995). Elkunchwaranchi
to UG and PG classes. At present he is working Natyasrusti. Nagpur: Vijay Prakashan.
in the PG Dept. of English, Vasantrao Naik Arvikar, Sanjay (2001). Shodh
Govt. Institute of Arts and Social Sciences,
Elkunchwaranchya Natyakrutincha.
Nagpur (India). His areas of interest include,
Pune: Padmagandha Prakashan.
Indian Literatures with IEL, Contemporary
Critical Theories, European Literature and Elkunchwar, Mahesh (1989). Old Stone
Socio-Linguistics. He has on his record more Mansion, Calcutta: Seagull Books.
than ten research papers published and two Elkunchwar, interviewed by Shubhada
books on Indian English Drama (Edited). He has Shelke, Facts and News, no.2, NCPA,
also completed a MRP funded by UGC. His Bombay, July 1987.
doctoral research from University of Mumbai is http://www.tribuneindia.com/1998/98oct18/
in its final phase. sunday/view.htm
Nayar, Pramod (2008). Postcolonial
Literature: An Introduction. Delhi:
Pearson Longman.

Cite this article as: Barure, S. (2014). Mahesh Elkunchwar’s Old Stone Mansion- End of an Ethos. International
Journal of English Language & Translation Studies 2(4), 66-75. Retrieved from http://www.eltsjournal.org
Page | 75