View history without colonial prism: Karnad

View history without colonial prism: Karnad

Playwright Girish Karnad and critic C N Ramachandran in conversation. DH Photo/S K Dinesh

The country’s history needs to be evaluated without the prism of colonialism to understand that “our past” is not a monolith, but a coalescing of multiple

Playwright Girish Karnad and critic C N Ramachandran emphasised the idea at a talk titled ‘Crossing to Hampi: A Dramatic Exploration of the Vijayanagara Catastrophe’ at the Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday.

Karnad elaborated on the idea behind his latest play ‘Rakshasa Tangadi’, based on the battle of Talikote that brought down the Vijayanagara Empire.

“A powerful kingdom disappeared in half a day, but most of the writings on it were directly based on Robert Sewell’s ‘A Forgotten Empire’, who sees it as a Hindu versus Muslim battle. In fact, Ramaraya, the last king, ruled for years by playing one sultan against another,” Karnad said.

Gaining such a perspective would reveal the factual inaccuracies in standardised history, which says the sultans attacked Vijayanagar.

Ramachandran praised the play for staying true to history, while also not compromising on the plot.

“The major cause for the fall of the empire was Ramaraya’s rule. He thought he belonged to the Chalukya dynasty, but forced to serve the Tuluva (coastal) rulers. He failed when the four sultans saw through his ploys and came together to defeat him,” he said.