Social criticism in Vijay Tendulkar’s play The Vultures
Vijay Tendulkar is one of Indian’s most influential playwrights and has given a new content and
form to Indian theatre, writing about contemporary issues and themes. Through his writings he
attacks the hypocrisies of the society.
As a renowned writer of realistic drama he often electrifies the conservative audiences
with brutal themes and forthright dialogues. Being very sensitive writer he observes the social,
political, cultural and moral degeneration of contemporary society and presents it in his plays
through detachment and critical dispassion. In his plays he deals with the themes of love, sex,
marriage, violence, gender inequality, social inequality, power games, alienation and individual
In his play Giddhade (The Vultures), Tendulkar unmasks the disintegration of the social
and moral values of the Pitale family which becomes the synecdoche of the modern Indian
society. The Vultures (Gidhade) was actually written 14 years before it was produced (1970)
and published (1971).
Tendulkar’s choice of Gidhade or The Vultures as the title of the play is remarkable in
itself. It serves the dual purpose of attracting the audience and also indicating the features of
his characters. Vultures are birds of prey. The very first attributes that occupy one’s mind with
the mention of the word ‘Vultures’, are awful, wicked, selfish, cruel or anything that is
unpleasant. Vultures are generally associated with ill omen. Associating human beings with
vultures, on one hand, dehumanizes them thus debasing them, and on the other hand, relates
their characteristics to that of the vultures. In this play there are five vultures. Pappa (Hari
Pitale), his two sons Ramakant and Umakant, his daughter Manik and his brother Sakharam.
The character of papa is darkened by greed, malice and corruption, the concomitance of tainted
money unfairly earned during the war. Pappa's...