He invites eminent critics, including Fatou Diome, Nicole Lapierre, Richard Sennett, and Alexander Kluge, to help articulate finer feelings—to make sense. A Sahel Opera becomes a world opera, tragic in the tradition of the genre, but far from a dead end. Might we consider it moving in search of a better death? In An Opera of the World , Malian filmmaker Manthia Diawara uses opera to reflect upon the migration of people and culture, mainly between Europe and Africa…. Manthia Diawara.
And unsaid in the play, but well known in the culture, Buddhist in its staging and Hindu in its context, 16 is that depriving of life, for whatever reason, would only bring bad karma, including possibly in this very life. This is hardly something that a young wife would wish for her newly found husband with whom she would, in traditional fashion, live for the rest of her life.
So the use of her head in the sense of being both spiritually and rationally wise is amply evident from her behaviour. Now from a street-smart sense, too, the Princess can hardly be said to be void of head.
And even if she were to lose him, then there would be the equally powerful protector, the Hunter King, with a full retinue at his beck and call, to look after her! So in many a sense—wisdom, compassion or utilitarianism—then, the Princess is indeed no bonehead! In the sense of being, again, sensible, we have seen how she is not mindless. She is hardly mindless in this sense either, since she does have the presence of mind, even in a time of crisis, to play it cool, be rational i. Our analysis then shows that Princess Maname was hardly any of those characteristics assigned to her by the phrase amana gati!
But the last two lines merit further comment. And his contribution to it all begins way before the climactic point of the combat. His immediate thoughts are on carrying the Princess away! Later on, he offers the Prince a bribe—protection to the edge of the forest. But, this is for a prize: Leave your woman here! It is, then, such a one of lustful, immoral and questionable character see next line that abandons the Princess for the claimed heinous crime of being fickle.
So is it indeed her fickle mind that eventually turns this king of the wild 20 against her? We let the text speak for itself. After the Prince is killed, this is how the Hunter King seeks to win the Princess:. She then asks, Can I believe in your deceit? It is at this point that she says, I have no refuge now but you. What else could a helpless Princess have done? What would you and I do, if placed in such a situation? Could she have realistically rejected him? Indeed her concern was survival, in a hostile forest.
It is finally at this point, then, that the Princess reciprocates, I love you only. A careful analysis of the text then makes it abundantly clear that it was not indeed a fickleness of mind that pushed the Princess towards the Hunter King, but simply desperation. She is, at worst, acceding to the advances made by a lustful man! To put it in a more positive light, the Princess can simply be said to be exercising her independence of judgement and freedom of thought and behaviour allowed for, or if that sounds too patronizing, available, in the Sinhalese Buddhist culture.
There is certainly no indecision here, but to repeat, a definitive pragmatic decision. And no infatuation either. But if the Hunter King is to be blamed for inveigling her to her decision, why does he now turn around and abandon her? Is it because she, rightly as we know from the story, but perhaps innocently, or even foolishly for the first time, forces him to face his own conscience?
Through wilfulness to his own death he went. I do not understand your words, beloved. I defeated him by my own prowess, not by your aid … This then clearly seems to be what turns him against her, not some moral position against a claimed fickle mind!
It was that the sense of manhood, specially of a forest dweller associated with the rough and tumble of life, was cut from beneath his very feet!! If the bias in favour of the Hunter King is clear, there is more evidence. Despite his blatant and abrasive expressions of desire for her in the very presence of her husband, he is portrayed as upholding the virtues of formal marriage. But even if we were to allow for the distant possibility of the Princess being contributory, in a very extended and circuitous sense, 22 to her own eventual fate, the Hunter King must be held at least more responsible for encouraging the indecision by his very overpowering stature!
Such a one could hardly be praising the virtues of marriage! Yet in these lines, he has the hypocritical and chauvinistic nerve to castigate the Princess for seeking to have the wedded husband slain! What we find in the play, then, is that despite everything the Hunter King does, he ends up being the upholder of virtue—fidelity and wisdom—and even the arbiter of justice on behalf of society. He is indeed the anti-hero hero, not a bit without the help of physical prowess and bravado, typically macho characteristics.
As our analysis shows, then, we have a woman rendered helpless by two egocentric, impatient and life-denying men; yet it is the woman that faces death. And worse, from a moral point of view, the man with the lesser morality ends up not only merely living but also earning the respect of society too! Do we need any more evidence of the androcentric bias of traditional society? But what it also shows is the patriarchal nature of society. A man fares well in society even if immoral.
In feminist terms, this would be called the victimization of the victim. The victimization is that the words are first put into her mouth with no justification, and are then made to eat it—a typical behaviour of one acting in power. In another sense, this is like an animal, toying with its captured prey before finally gobbling it up! For all such reasons, then, the treatment of Princess Maname is disparaging of womankind, and hence, patriarchal—in its literal sense of power over.
We have seen that the story of Maname , in its traditional version as put on stage by Sarachchandra, is essentially androcentric, and patriarchal. But can playwright Sarachchandra also be called androcentric and patriarchal? This is not easy to answer primarily because the story line is a traditional one, played before folk audiences probably for centuries. So it can be cogently argued that Sarachchandra was merely being faithful to the tradition. This argument is rendered the more compelling when we consider the background against which Maname came to be produced for the contemporary theatre.
Thanks to his studies of the traditional Sinhalese theatre in his The Sinhalese Folk Play and the Modern Stage , and the Chinese, Japanese and Indian classical traditions along with their contemporary manifestations, he had finally put his finger on the missing element: the stylized technique, common to all four traditions.
Having also spent a year in Japan on a sabbatical studying Kabuki personal knowledge , he saw a unique opportunity of not just attracting audiences and critics, but equally importantly, to raise the level of the Sinhalese theatre. That he had the right mix was evident from the roaring success of Maname , operatic from beginning to end. It was not a time of feminism, and nobody had even begun to raise the issue. It certainly had not been a concern of the folk audiences who had returned night after night for up to seven nights sometimes to see their favourite stories enacted on stage.
So the natural inclination for Sarachchandra would have been to leave the story line untouched. In a sense, to change the story would have been to tamper with tradition. There was also, secondly, the danger of the audiences rejecting the play for the wrong reasons, namely, change of story line, rather than for esthetic proclivities.
If, on this evidence, we exonerate Sarachchandra of overt androcentrism, there is some evidence that he held no particular respect for males over and above females either. When the beggar says that he just returned from the other world elova , he was simply indicating the lot of the hungry who are always on the verge of death. Taking it literally, the woman enquires whether he had by any chance met their daughter who had just died.
Seeing his opportunity, the beggar feigns familiarity, upon which the woman gives him the jewelry that belonged to the daughter to be taken to her. It is this that makes the husband fume. If at this point we see a foolish woman of weak mind, as if to confirm an androcentrism, we come to be convinced otherwise when in the end we find the husband also fooled when the beggar first lures him away and then rides away on his horse!
Now we laugh at the follies of life, not of women but of men, too. An apparent androcentrism turns out to be an androgyny. If we are correct in our analysis, we then have an example of a situation where the personal is not political, as often claimed by feminist critique. Since Sarachchandra did not intend bias, there is, from a Buddhist perspective, no culpability.
The words of the Buddha were, Intent, I declare, is action. Then, as the Hunter King re-emerges, the Princess could with all honesty, and realistically, say the very next words in the text, I have no refuge now but you. The androcentrism in Maname could also have been mitigated with a different ending.
If, as we have claimed, the most likely reason why Sarachchandra left the androcentrism in the story of Maname untouched was a concern about violating tradition, he could have been equally true to tradition by making the ending androgynic, capturing the essential respect, as noted, for women in the culture. This, of course, is not to say that in its practice , women in Buddhist societies have always enjoyed equality, Gross pointing to the intolerable contradiction between view and practice.
But ordination is merely one index of equality. In historical times, a queen, Leelavai by name, reigned for several years, and in contemporary times, it was perhaps no accident that it was a Sinhalese, Sirimavo Bandaranaike, who became the first woman Prime Minister in the world , paving the way for Golda Meir, Indira Gandhi and the rest. The report by the British revenue officer footnoted earlier note 21 speaks to the position of women two centuries ago.
Here is the fuller text:. The Cingalese neither keep their women in confinement nor impose on them any humiliating restraints. In contemporary Sinhalese society, women students have outnumbered men at the university since its inception in the forties, and there are no child-brides or girl-baby killings. Children pay homage to mother first, and then to father.
This, then, is the tradition that would have allowed Sarachchandra to render Maname androgynic without offending Sinhalese, and Buddhist, cultural sensitivity. If any, what such a gender egalitarianism would have brought about is more acceptance and accolades rather than less! Basing himself upon this respectable status of the woman, then, what change in the ending would have helped make Maname androgynic?
A dramatic possibility would have been for the Hunter King to be abandoned by his retinue in a revolt in protest of the injustice wrought upon the Princess, and his hypocrisy see above! That would also have helped elevate the level of respect Sinhalese society has for the aboriginal people of the land. The Princess could, then, become their queen, betrothed to the Hunter Chief i.
Even though the panegyrical language could be seen as an attempt on the part of the Chief to extract a larger benefit for himself, there is little doubt about the amorous desires engendered in him by the sight of the Princess.
Another possible ending would have been not to allow the fate of death to befall Princess Maname when the Hunter King abandons her. A third alternative ending could have been, following either of the above or instead of them, for Princess Maname to take to a life of renunciation in search of liberation. Already homeless, this being a way of life for one wishing liberation, the next step would have been a natural.
What is particularly relevant here is that this rasa does not appear in the original list of eight , but was specifically introduced, as Warder points out, by Buddhist writers of esthetics. This would have set a precedent as well for later, and younger playwrights, who came to flourish following the Sinhalese theatrical resurgence that followed Maname.
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Ottawa: National Museum of Canada. Jespersen, Otto. Growth and Structure of the English Language. Garden City, NY: Doubleday. Kalsey, Surjeet, ed. Keith, A. A History of Sanskrit Literature. London: Oxford University Press. Khan, Nuzrat Yar. Michael S. Ottawa: Dept. Kohlberg, Lawrence. Stages of Moral Development as a basis for Moral Education. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, Kolesnikoff, Nina. Home Ever-present Maname prince. Ever-present Maname prince.
Neetha Sirimanne Ratnapala. Visit Kapruka. Low delivery cost to most cities here and free delivery in Colombo. Your name. Leave this field blank. Related Articles. RRIC The neglected rubber clone. Negombo, on the western coast draws tourists in their thousands each year.
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