Sandajuko Mahabharat

BP Koirala’s Life and Works on stage

The play Sandajuko Mahabharat or the ‘Mahabharata of Sandaju’ begins with the mention of Mahabharata epic battle that is seen from the eyes of real women characters of Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala’s novel Modiain. The dramatic tension is between the divine and the humans. Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala alias Sandaju (1914-1982) as used in this play, shows in this novel the humans become like automation when they are filled with divinity. The background sound is a mixture of the epic noise and that of the modern warfare. The women are concerned about their men who are going to fight in the battle and most probably die in that.

A chorus called ekal sutradhar meaning the single choric commentator who plays major role in this play organising the entire drama, claims that he has created this drama to highlight the features of Bishweshwar Prasad Koirala’s or Sandaju’s life and works. He was the first democratically elected prime minister of Nepal in 1958, and was deposed and jailed by king Mahendra in December 1960. His precious time was spent in Sundarijal prison for eight years. He was released in 1968, and after 8 years of exilic life in India and travels in the Western countries he returned to Nepal on December 30, 1976. He was arrested and tried at a special court from April 29 to May 17, 1977. Sandaju gave court statements denying charges against him as mere political. His court statement is the great document of freedom. The chorus says he has used that court testimony to develop this drama. The locus of the play is the court, and the drama moves in history with Sandaju’s narrative and statements. The chorus claims, that was the first time that the architectural corridors and verandas from where the rulers pretended to hear the grievances of the people who spoke loudly from the ground below, were metaphorically pulled down when Sandaju challenged the dictatorial king and his regime to answer the latter’s violation of the common people’s rights by dissolving the parliament and jailing the legitimate leader of the people. The chorus says Sandaju has become such a myth whose actions, words and spirit must be understood for our own good today. It is the story of a person whose journey with or without text holds equal significance not only for the Nepali people but also for others.