2012 | 14 | 133-145
Article title

Indian Society as Depicted in the Caturbhāni and in Mahendravikramavarman’s Prahasanas

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In the classical Indian theatre or nāṭya, two rūpakas: nāṭaka and prakaraṇa, represent the most valued rūpakas or dramatic varieties. Nāṭaka, with its mytho-heroic-love subject and idealized representation of life, does not give a realistic picture of Indian life as prakaraṇas, profane in their character, do by describing urban life (Śūdraka’s Mr̥ cchakaṭikā) or courtly life (Kālidāsa’s Mālavikāgnimitra). The third preserved prakaraṇa, Bhavabhūti’s Mālatῑmādhava, with its love story, gives some socio-religious background (tantrism) as well. But the most plastic picture of everyday social life in ancient India is to be found in two other rūpakas, namely bhāṇa and prahasana. Bhāṇas are exemplified in Caturbhāṇῑ, in the texts of Śyāmilaka, Vararuci, Śūdraka and Īśvaradatta; and prahasanas are best represented in the work of Mahendravikramavarman. A lively description of the city life is achieved by bringing on the stage people from different strata of the society in a kaleidoscopic range of interesting characters.
Physical description
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