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Subir Kumar Dhar

The Aestheticisation of Indian Communalism: Mahesh Dattani's Final Solutions

Subir Kumar Dhar
Rabindra Bharati University, Kolkata (India).

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     Last modified: April 4, 2007

A lingering tragic consequence of the erstwhile British Colonial
policy of "Divide-and-Rule", communalism or religious disharmony
between Hindus and Muslims (Islamics) threatens even today to
occasionally rupture the secular and non-theocratic fabric of India as
a nation. The multilingual literature of contemporary India has not
infrequently addressed this issue, but it is only recently that this
concern has been powerfully dramatized in a play written by Mahesh
Dattani, a playwright who writes exclusively in English for a
pan-Indian audience.

In his play, Final Solutions, Dattani embodies a deeply compassionate
study of the feelings and sentiments of three generations of Muslims
and Hindus, going back in time to the Partition of the Indian
subcontinent by the British in 1947. The title of Dattani's play
ironically resonates to the pitch of Hitler's "Final Solution" which
planned to exterminate all the Jews in Europe and the world. Thus does
Dattani evoke the dark shades of religious bigotry and intolerance,
communal violence and mutual hatred that tear apart the peoples of a

However, apart from exploring this strata of significance, this paper
will also attempt to examine how the politics of communal identity is
"aestheticized" by Mahesh Dattani through the nuances of its formal or
artistic representation in the dramatic text of the play.

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