- Book Genre: Classics
Kalidasa’s most famous play refashions an episode from the Mahabharata, magnificently dramatizing the love story of Shakuntala, a girl of semi-divine origin, and Dushyanta, a noble human king. After their brief and passionate but secret union at her father’s forest ashram, Dushyanta must return to his capital. He gives Shakuntala his signet ring, promising to make her his queen when she joins him later. But, placed unawares under a curse, he forgets her—and she loses the ring that would have enabled him to recognize her. Will the lovers be reunited? The world’s first full-length play centred on a comprehensive love story, The Recognition of Shakuntala is an undisputed classic of the ancient period. Vinay Dharwadker’s sparkling new translation is the definitive poetic rendering of this romantic-heroic comedy for the twenty-first century stage. His absorbing commentary and notes give contemporary readers an unparalleled opportunity to savour the riches of a timeless text.
Book Pages : 300
"Little is known about the greatest poet in classical Sanskrit literature and one of the greatest in world literature. A most self-effacing writer, he has chosen to reveal little of himself in his work. Kālidāsa probably lived and wrote at the close of the first millennium BC, though a date later by some five centuries has been assigned to him by some scholars. It is highly probable too that he lived and wrote in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh—splendid capital of empires, a centre of culture and India’s great emporium for a thousand years. Kālidāsa is a dramatist, a writer of epic and a lyric poet of extraordinary scope. In all, seven of his works have survived, though tradition has ascribed to him many a spurious work authored by later writers who assumed his style. The two works best known outside the country are the play, Śakuntalā and the lyric monody, Meghadūtam. Kālidāsa is a courtly poet; but at the same time he is a very learned poet who wears his learning lightly and with grace. It has been suggested that Kālidāsa was a high court official who was sent on embassies by the Emperor Chandra Gupta II to other royal courts; and that Meghadūtam was written during a long spell of separation from his wife when he was residing at the Vākataka capital of Nandhivardhana, near the ‘Rāma’s hill’ of the poem, as adviser to the widowed Queen Prabhāvati Gupta, daughter of the emperor, who was ruling the kingdom as regent for her infant son. Kālidāsa’s work is instinct with Śiva’s presence. The blend of the erotic and spiritual that characterizes Śiva-mythology is reflected in the poet’s work. A mystic feeling for the transcendental combines with a sensuous feeling for beauty in Woman and Nature."