By Indian Authors Fiction

Silence the court is in session by Vijay Tendulkar – Book review


Silence! The court is in session Book Cover Silence! The court is in session
Vijay Tendulkar
Oxford University Press
Purchased from local bookstore

A truth of society through the eyes of drama


We evaluated this book in literature studies as a part of an assignment. This is one of the vital book in literature. This drama has been translated in several language. Originally written in the Marathi titled as ‘Shantata! Court chalu ahe’ this drama first performed in the year of 1968. The play was written in 1963 for Rangayan, a Mumbai-based theater group. It was inspired after the playwright overheard the conversation among the members of amateur theater group travelling on Mumbai local train to perform a mock trail at Vile Parle.

Plot summary:

A group of professors has to play at the village. Miss Leena Benare was the first to reach there. She is an independent, jolly, working, single woman who loves to live a liberal life. All the people has the plan to practice before the play but then they found that one of a member is absent. So, They decide to add a local resident Samant in the play who is not familiar with acting. They decide to set a mock trail to make Samant understood how to act in a drama. They select miss Benare as accused of infanticide and having illegitimate affairs with numerous men specially with the absent member of group Prof. Damle . The play which starts with the intention of fun grew serious when the members start blaming miss Benare for her way of living.

There is drama in the drama. The playwright has powerfully depicted the male chauvinism in the society. At one place Miss Benare is an independent woman on the other side there is a Mrs. Kashikar who throughout the drama get taunted by his husband Mr. Kashikar.

The drama depicts how the society treats a woman who chooses to by her own. The dialogues like ‘In any case we’ll be able to see what the trail of a woman is like’ , ‘but when there’s a woman in the dock, the case does have a different complexion, that’s true.’ shows the mentality of society for a woman who do not walk by the created path of society.

At one place the character Mr. Kashikar has mentioned that social reformers who abolished child marriage are responsible for the said crime. Throughout the drama each and every person threw many accusations towards Miss Benare like falling love with his uncle at the age of fourteen, committed unsuccessful suicide and what not !! Each and every person has questioned Miss Benare but none of them said a single word to the Prof. Damle.

Mrs. Kashikar who do have her own existence in front of her husband raises a question of Miss Benare’s character. Throughout the drama Miss Benare plead them to stop this as it was getting at the personal level but nobody listened to her.
At last Miss Benare broke her silence and said that ‘Life is a poisonous snake that bites itself. Life is a betrayal. Life is fraud, life is a drug, life must be hanged, life is not worthy of life.’ She mentions why she fall in love with her uncle. ‘Life seems to sing for you ! There’s great joy in a suicide that’s failed. It’s greater even than the pain of living.’ ‘ Only one thing in life is all important- the body!’ 

The drama ends with Benare singing ‘The parrot to the sparrow said, why, oh why, are your eyes so red? Oh! my dear friend, what shall I say? Someone has stolen my nest away.’ 

Writing style:

Written with the powerful characters and powerful dialogues this drama depicts the bitter truth of society.

My perception:

The society has the various restriction for women JUST for women! If people see any unmarried woman living her life in her own way then society instantly tag her. The play was written in the year of 1963 but you can see that nothing has changed since then. Women living in this chauvinism society still faces discrimination where the woman is the only who get blamed but the not man ! This is a serious drama which depicts a serious issue of this patriotic society.

Grab a copy of this book from here,

Until next time, Keep reading 🙂 

Sheetal Maurya

Sheetal Maurya is a full-time blogger. She is a die-hard bookworm and has read more books than she can count. She believes in the art of storytelling and reviews books so that the world can choose the best ones and embark on an adventurous virtual reading journey.

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