Tughlaq as a Representation of Nehru Era
Tughlaq as a Representation of Nehru Era : Girish Karnad uses mythical and historical episodes to highlight problems which confront the modern Indian at various levels. Tughlaq is a story of Mughal emperor in Medieval India that draws striking parallels between what happened more than six centuries back and what happened in Nehru Era.
Tughlaq as a Representation of Nehru Era
In one of the articles Karnad himself has admitted that the twenty years of Muhammad’s rule are in many respects similar to the seventeen years of the Nehru era. Tughlaq both in history and in the drama enters the stage as one of the most of intelligent monarchs who sat on the throne of Delhi. He was an idealist and a visionary who planned much and planned boldly. But most of his plans came to an ignominious end.
We can see in the play how an extremely capable man disintegrates before our very eyes. Tughlaq’s idealism is handicapped by the flaws in his own character. We find him impulsive, impatient, insensitive to cruelty and
violence and always cocksure that for all the problems confronting the state and the society he alone has the correct answer.
After India gained her freedom, hopes rose very high both in the country and abroad that India was all set for a glorious epoch of progress and power. Nehru’s idealism of a ‘One World’ with each sovereign Nation willingly co-operating in the cause of universal peace, appealed strongly to every section of mankind in a warweary world. Nehru championed the cause of the politically subject peoples both in Asia and Africa.
He came to be looked as the political conscience of the world. He put India very prominently on the political map of the world. His plea for intelligent and sensitive co-operation between the haves and the have nots roused sympathetic responses in every part of the earth. This is echoed by Tughlaq who pleads for equihanded justice towards all his subjects whatever be the religion to which they belong.
The internationalism of Nehru provoked strong opposition from many of the political and religious parties in India. There was a hardcore feeling that the welfare of India was being sacrificed at the altar of Internationalism. Though the outside world accepts Nehru as the voice of India, within the country itself, he did not get the willing co-operation he had budgeted for. We find in the play Tughlaq shaking himself free from the shackles of the Koran, the Ulema and the Sheikhs and dreaming in the light shed by the Greek philosophers and oriental mystics.
This rouses the ire of the leaders of Islamic religion. The tirade of Sheikh-Imam-ud-din and the conspiracy headed by Shihab-ud-din are pioneers to the dissatisfaction and mistrust created by the Sultan’s policy and ideals. Nehru the intellectual and dreamer, was also in a similar position pathetically unable to have his ideas accepted whole-heartedly by the other political and religious parties.
Tughlaq shifts his capital to Daulatabad. He is also quite adamant on the issue of token currency of copper. Nehru’s industrial policy at the cost of agricultural development had been a striking resemblance to Tughlaq’s fatal schemes. Agricultural front remained undeveloped; as a result there was food shortage in India. Daulatabad and the copper coinage sealed Muhammad’s fate. Kashmir and the Pakistan were legacies of Nehru’s internationalism which in practice often meant vacillation in foreign policy.
The insurrection of a trusted Ain-ul-Mulk in Tughlaq’s case is on a par with the attack by the trusted by China on India. As the Ain-ul-Mulk problem is not satisfactorily solved in the play, the Chinese problem also hangs as the Sword of Democles on India’s foreign policy. Tughlaq was able to fashion an Empire which rivaled in vastness the Ashokan Empire.
Similarly Nehru was able to project India on the world map to an extent no ruler of this land has been able to do before in history. But the empire of Tughlaq disintegrated and similarly the reorganization of the states on the linguistic basis failed as today the sense of Indianness has practically disappeared and only linguistic labels stick.
A major reason for Tughlaq’s failure was that he was a lone wolf. He was not amenable to advice and his will was law. Nehru also was, as biographers have pointed out, a lonely man taking no one into his confidence. Neither Tughlaq nor Nehru believed in joint planning and joint responsibility. But Tughlaq was a dictator and Nehru, the Prime Minster of a democratic country.
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