Q: Neeladarpana

Hueckstedt hueckst at cc.UManitoba.CA
Fri Apr 4 14:57:32 UTC 1997

To all members of the list:
A colleague of mine here who knows nothing about India or South Asia 
generally is setting up a course on imperialism. She asked me yesterday 
if there were any materials from India or about India that she could use, 
particularly literary 
materials, that were from the nineteenth century and expressed an 
anti-imperialist point of view or that at least dealt explicitly with 
British or Company Rule in India. And, she said, though it wouldn't be 
necessary, it would also be nice if those materials also dealt with the 
status of women. I made a few suggestions, but any 
suggestions from any of you would be most welcome. (This is not exactly 
my area of knowledge.)

The one literary piece that immediately came to mind, but which I have 
not yet mentioned to her is the play about indigo production called, I 
believe, _Neeladarpana_. My assumption has been that this was initially a 
Bengali play. I understand that many plays against particular British 
policies were put on in the mid to late nineteenth century, and at 
least partly because of those plays the British passed the Dramatic 
Performances Act of 1879 to censor such plays or prevent their production 
entirely. (_Indian Theater: Traditions of Performance_, ed. by Farley P. 
Richmond, U of Hawaii Press, 1990, pp 388-89.) I believe it was after the 
passing of that act that _Neeladarpana_ was performed in Lucknow, and the 
British responded by shooting the actors while they were on stage. But 
I'm only working from memory here, and I'm not confident of that memory. 
Can anyone confirm what I've written or tell me what in fact was the 
case? Is there a good English translation of that play? 

Any other help in this general area would be most appreciated both by me 
and by my colleague. 

Bob Hueckstedt  

Robert A. Hueckstedt, Associate Professor of Indic Languages
Asian Studies Centre, 328 Fletcher Argue, University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2 Canada
fax 1 204-261-4483 phones 1 204-474-8964, 1 204-488-4797

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