Malini is a poetic play by Rabindranath Tagore. The poem deals with feelings like love, compassion, hatred and revenge. The poem is connected to Nepal and Buddhist scriptures as it is said to have been adapted from the Buddhist legend of Mahavastu Avadana which Tagore found in his friend Rajendralal Mitra’s The Sanskit Buddhist Literature in Nepal.
The play deals with the historical conflict between the age old Brahminism and newly introduced Buddhism. Princess Malini develops a new faith in Buddhism that motivates actions of the play.
The Brahmins of Kashi, the home of the Hindu religion grow rebellious and demand the banishment of the princess. Their leader Kemankar resolves to bring forces from outside to uproot the new religion from Kashi. He leaves his faithful friend Supriya to remain watchful and keep him informed of incidents back home. However, Supriya comes under the influence of Buddhism and truth in Malini.
To save Malini from death, Supriya exposes the secrets of Kemankar who is arriving with troops from Ratnabali to eliminate Buddhist faith from Kashi. Kemankar is taken captive by the king. He is sentenced to death.
Malini begs her father for Kemankar’s life. Supriya also wants his life to be saved. Kemankar asks his friend to account for his betrayal. Kemankar feels that he betrays him for the sake of Malini and is unconvinced by Supriya’s answer. He hurls his heavy iron chains on Supriya’s head and kills him.
The distraught king orders his sword to be brought. Malini, despite the shock of the deadly act, makes a spontaneous appeal to forgive the rebel.
Malini is the prescribed play for the students of Grade 11. Thus, staging Malini can play a vital role to reach the mass of the younger generation. The main objective of performing this play is to create a sustainable audience for the Nepali Theatre.