The Clay Toy-Cart
A gripping satire of romance, betrayal and intrigue set in ancient India
The Clay Toy-cart remains one of the foundational works of Sanskrit drama, having been performed numerous times around the world and even serving as the inspiration for Girish Karnad's highly acclaimed film Utsav.
The story follows the fortunes of a rich and beautiful courtesan, Vasantasena, who falls in love with the handsome Charudatta, a former merchant who is now penniless. Although Charudatta is happily married, he is deeply drawn to Vasantasena. The two embark on a love affair that leads to some terrible complications and shocking reversals of fortune-involving violent crime as well as political rebellion-before matters are ingeniously resolved.
Padmini Rajappa's lucid translation revitalizes this iconic play for contemporary readers while also shedding light on its unique place in the Sanskrit canon as well as the mystery shrouding the identity of its author.
Shudraka is regarded as one of the foremost Sanskrit dramatists. Although his work has been lauded for centuries, his real identity remains a mystery.
Padmini Rajappa studied Sanskrit under the private guidance of the teachers of the department of Sanskrit of the University of Poona and at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute. Earlier she had received a PhD degree in history from the University of Bombay. Padmini won the 2014 Sahitya Akademi award for translating Bana Bhatta's Kadambari, a seventh-century Sanskrit prose work into English.