The play reinterprets Krishna LalAdhikari’s late nineteenth century text titled MakaikoKheti in the context of contemporary post-earthquake Nepal. While it is not clear whether Adhikari’s controversial bookMakaikoKheti (or Cultivation of Maize) was intended as a simple agricultural manual, or as a political satire (Ranas thought that red and white pests described by Adhikari in the manual were symbols of Rana rulers themselves), the fact remains that Adhikari was arrested and put into prison where he died after five years.
Itrevisits the earlier text to raise crucial questions concerning authorial freedom, the technique of rewriting, and political freedom. For example, like the Rana rulers of the 1920s, the post-Rana rulers of Nepal have not shied away from censoring the authors who dissent from prevailing orthodoxies. Even if the censorship of authors by the state has declined considerably in the post-Jana Andolan decades, in these years, the repressive tendency has migrated from the state’s tutelage to self-proclaimed guardians of many ideologies and identities. It is for this reason that Sanjeev’s play is pointed satirically toward these unlikely inquisitors.
Designed and directed by Bimal Subedi, the play is a kind of experimental dark comedy that raises crucial questions concerning authorial freedom.