Lord Bahubali’s Distorted Image Irks Jains

The distorted depiction of Lord Bahubali (one of the much acclaimed and worshipped Jain deity) in a Kannada drama has annoyed the Jains and other patrons of the religion in Karnataka.

Bahubali Chakraratna

Bangalore (Karnataka), August 12, 2013: A recent production staged by ‘Rupantara’, the renowned drama troupe in Bangalore has inflicted the Jains and other patrons of the religion and has given way for a new set of controversies.

The production said to be based on Pampa’s Adipurana has envisaged the conflict between violence and non-violence in a pellucid manner. A perpetual and contemporary effort has been made to establish the humanitarian relationship amongst the people and to live in harmony. Though it has tried to putforth the images/characters of Bharatha & Bahubali as depicted in the renowned classics, it has failed miserably in its attempt. The present production Chakraratna scripted by Dr.K.Y.Narayanaswamy and directed by K.S.D.L.Chandru has given way to many of the ambiguities in the theme. Though the production of the play draws the attention by its superbness, it has led to many controversial aspects in the script itself. It has distorted the established concepts and beliefs about the much acclaimed and worshipped Jain deity Lord Bahubali.

Violating literary norms and ethos – The production has many lacunae and further leading to ambiguities in depicting the characters, particularly Lord Bahubali. The author has violated the literary norms and production ethos in the name of creativity. The story of Bharatha & Bahubali is well known to the people interested in literature and religion. The sequence of Bahubali relinquishing his victory over his brother Bharatha has been exacerbated  by de-characterising the original image of Lord Bahubali.

Bahubali depicted as a Cobbler – Dr.K.Y.N. has made a futile attempt by distorting the real and established image of Lord Bahubali. It is very painful to state that his script has caused an ir-repairable damage by depecting Lord Bahubali as a cobbler and this discharacterisation in the name of ‘creativity’ is highly objectionable, deplorable & unpardonable. It is surprising to note that the author has made this change by inserting an unequivocal character. If one undergoes through a huge gamut of literature accumulated in the works of Bharatha & Bahubali’s life of Jinasenacharya, Adikavi Pampa, G.P.Rajarathnam, G.Gundanna, H.B.Jwalanaiah and other renowned writers/play rights of Kannada literature, no author has inclined to this act of distorting the image of Prathama Mokshagami Lord Bahubali.

Other Distortions – Further, there are also many other distortions observed in the script. They are as below:

  • Character of Chakraratna – Though this character performed by the artist on the stage is plausible, the interpretation of the two wars – Drushti Yuddha (a kind of non-violent war between the two brothers where in each one of them will be staring eye to eye incessantly and  the person who blinks first is the looser) & Jala Yuddha (a kind of non-violent war between the two brothers where in they will be storming water at each other and the person who succeeds in storming water to the other persons face is a winner) are portrayed differently through a dancer. However, ‘Malla Yuddha’ the other war between the brothers has been shown as in the established works. This indifferent & irrelevant depiction of the three wars in two different forms physically in the same play further adds to the perplexity of the original theme.
  • Marriage Proposal to Lord Adinath – It is astonishing to note that in the present script the dwellers of the village come forward to offer brides to Adinath who has relinquished his entire realm. It is hard to find such an event in any of the works related to Lord Adinath. This has further made it arduous to properly comprehend the original theme.
  • The Character of Nilanjana, the court dance in the court of Adinath is also markedly distorted by the play right. It is hard to find any justification to the depiction that her tongue was stitched over by a cobbler (Lord Bahubali in this play).

These irrational changes adopted inadvertently by the present playright K.Y.Narayana Swamy has wounded the inherent religious sentiments & belief’s of the Jain community in particular and others in general. Hence the production is highly deplorable.

Furthermore, the portrayal of such sequences is totally offend able and totally non-contributory to the production. It has disowned the theatrical moralities.

Jains express concerns to the Author – The members of the Jain community who viewed the productions staged subsequently on June 15, 2013 and August 11, 2013 by this troupe. All the points mentioned above were discussed at length with the author and the director and were appraised about the distortions in the script. The members and devotees of Jain community have felt that this distorted image of one of their most revered deities sends a false message and gives a spurious image about Lord Bahubali. Further, they have felt that it is highly regrettable to distort the divine characters in name of creativity.

Dr.H.A.Parshwanath (Jain scholar, theatrist and co-founder of www.jainheritagecentres.com (JHC)), Dr.G.B.Puttaniah (vice president of Karnataka Jain Association), Sri Y.C.Bhujabalaiah (advocate & executive  committee member of Karnataka Jain Association), B.Dharanendraiah (former executive  committee member of Karnataka Jain Association), Smt Komala Brahmadev (executive  committee member of Karnataka Jain Association), Nitin H.P. (an IT professional, founder & executive director of JHC), Dr.Satish Kagwad, P.Vijay Kumar, members of the Tumkur Jain samaj and others have conveyed their views & concerns about the above production. -Inputs from Dr.H.A.Parshwanath, Y.C.Bhujabalaiah, Nitin H.P. & Jain Heritage Centres News Service

Link to videos related to Chakratna on Youtube – Video Shoot & Uploaded by Keval P Jain, Bangalore

  1. Link 1 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJeYgqt91E8
  2. Link 2 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DwTBOlDJGA
  3. Link 3 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ndf8Z9_K60
  4. Link 4 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y7NcTOq_C-0
  5. Link 5 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yruC6N7rawY

Post Author: JHC