Raag Darbari: A Classic Satire on Indian Politics and Society
Raag Darbari is a Hindi novel by Shrilal Shukla, published in 1968. It is widely regarded as one of the best works of modern Hindi literature, and a sharp critique of the corruption and power dynamics in rural India. The novel won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1970, and was adapted into a popular TV serial by Doordarshan in 1986.
The novel is set in the fictional village of Shivpalganj, where the protagonist Ranganath, a young and idealistic student of history, comes to stay with his uncle Vaidyaji, a local leader and politician. Ranganath is shocked to witness the rampant malpractices, nepotism, violence and manipulation that pervade the village life. He tries to reform the system, but soon realizes that he is powerless against the entrenched interests of Vaidyaji and his cronies.
Raag Darbari is a dark comedy that exposes the hypocrisy and absurdity of Indian democracy. It uses witty dialogues, folk songs, proverbs and allegories to convey its message. The novel also explores the themes of education, culture, morality and social change. It portrays the contrast between the urban and rural worlds, the modern and traditional values, and the individual and collective aspirations.
The TV serial based on the novel was directed by Lekh Tandon and featured Om Puri, Manohar Singh, Alok Nath and Surekha Sikri in prominent roles. It was well received by the audience and critics alike. It captured the essence of the novel and brought it to life on the small screen.
Raag Darbari is a timeless masterpiece that remains relevant even today. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the realities of Indian politics and society.
One of the most memorable characters in Raag Darbari is Langad, a low-caste villager who is loyal to Vaidyaji and acts as his henchman. Langad is a master of sarcasm and irony, and often mocks Ranganath for his naive and idealistic views. He also represents the voice of the oppressed and marginalized sections of the society, who have no choice but to submit to the whims of the powerful.
Another notable character is Badri Pahalwan, a wrestler and a rival of Vaidyaji. He challenges Vaidyaji's authority and tries to expose his misdeeds. He is a symbol of physical strength and courage, but also of violence and aggression. He is often involved in conflicts and fights with Vaidyaji's supporters.
The novel also depicts the role of women in the village society. They are mostly confined to the domestic sphere and have little say in the public affairs. They are expected to obey their husbands and elders, and to bear the brunt of their anger and frustration. They are also subject to harassment and exploitation by the men in power.
Raag Darbari is a novel that does not offer any easy solutions or happy endings. It shows the harsh realities of life in rural India, where the common people are trapped in a cycle of poverty, ignorance and injustice. It also questions the role of intellectuals and educated elites, who are either indifferent or ineffective in bringing about any positive change. It challenges the readers to think critically and act responsibly. ec8f644aee