The Criterion
An International Journal in English

ISSN 0976-8165

The Portrait of a Visionary: Girish Karnad’s Tughlaq
Dr. Sadhana Agrawal
Asst. Prof., Dept. of English
Maharani Laxmibai Govt. College
of Excellence, Gwalior (M.P.) India

The present study is a modest attempt to examine Girish Karand’s Tughlaq, which is
noted for its historical theme and contemporary relevance, and to throw light on Tughlaq, the
central figure of the play, who stands for administrative reforms, for implementing the policy
of Hindu – Muslim amity, etc. It is he who cherishes impossible dreams to be fulfilled. The
study also endeavours to show how an idealist and visionary Tughlaq radically deviate from
the religious tenets in matters of politics and administration and how this departure from the
holy tenets enrages the orthodox people and in what way they condemn, oppose and rebel
against Tughlaq. The study finally traces the development of Karnad’s dramatic art.
What makes the Sultan’s character more fascinating is his paradoxical and complex
nature. He is portrayed as “a dreamer and a man of action, benevolent and cruel, devout and
callous.” U.R. Anantha Murty remarks: “Both Tughlaq and his enemies initially appear to be
idealists; yet in the pursuit of the ideal, they perpetrate its opposite. The whole play is
structured on these opposites: the ideal and the real: the divine aspiration and the deft
intrigue.” These opposites constitute the main charm of the structure of Tughlaq. Tughlaq
promises his Subjects to maintain “justice, equality, progress and peace -- not just peace but a
more purposeful life” “without any consideration of might and weakness, religion or creed.”
But to a great surprise he could not win the hearts of his public. It is worthwhile to sum up
our discussion with these words: Tughlaq “focuses entirely the socio-psychological and
politico-religious motifs of the Sultan – Muhammad Tughlaq.” It is “the...

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