Major Highlights from Habib Tanvir’s play "Charandas Chor"

"He who confronts the paradoxical exposes himself to reality."
Friedrich Dürrenmatt (1921 - 1990)

Character of the minister: The minister is newly appointed. His rank is next to the queen. So he is supposed to be an intelligent and responsible man. But here he appears to be a gullible person. He comes to the village to take the stock of the royal treasury. On the way he met with the Guru and cannot resist the temptation of a long series of inauguration. Thus he is easily befooled by Charandas and his associates. Later he obeys the orders of the queen placidly instead of giving her true advice. He is also snubbed again by the queen for not carrying out his orders properly. He acts like a puppet. Thus the playwright pokes fun at the inefficiency of a high positioned administrator like him.
Categorize the drama: Charandas, a thief, comes in contact with a guru who asks him to always tell the truth, Charandas swears to do so. He is firm in his resolve to follow the truth. In the course of action in the drama, Charandas comes in contact with businessman, religious gurus and administrators. All appear to pale before the honesty of Charandas. He tells his true motives to his victims, but they fail to understand him. Ultimately, honesty costs Charandas his life, The whole drama makes us laugh till the last moment and suddenly we are silent. We are in the presence of death. So it is neither a perfect tragedy nor a perfect comedy. It is difficult to put it in a category and that is the secret of the success of the play.

Vows of Charandas: Being chased by the havaldar Charandas came in contact with a guru who told him to give up stealing. But Charandas offered to take four vows of his own instead. His vows were- 1. He would never eat off golden platter, 2. He would never mount an elephant and lead a procession, 3. He would never marry a queen, 4. He would never be the king.
Reaction of the Guru: Hearing this Guru criticizes Charandas by telling that he had heard that when a man sleeps, he dreams. But Charandas was dreaming with eyes wide open. Guru did not believe his words. So he imposed another vow on him. He made him take the vow that he should never tell lies.
Stealing things by Charandas: Charandas stole six things. First he stole a golden platter. Then he stole coins from the sattuwala. Then he stole jewellery from a rich merchant’s wife but later he returned it to her. Then he stole 380 sacks from the landlord. Then he stole five gold coins from the royal treasure. At last he stole the heart of the queen.

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