Caption: A scene from the play ‘Mejnun - Madman in Love’
If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.”
— Johann von Goethe
Since I could not wait for more than one-and-half-hours for the inaugural day show of the play ‘Chitralekhe’ (Kannada) at the Bhoomigeeta mini-theatre at Rangayana’s Bahuroopi International Theatre Festival, I abandoned the challenge and bought the tickets the same evening for an english play with an aspirational title ‘Mejnun - Madman in Love’ for yesterday. The usual spelling we are familiar with about this story of star-crossed lovers in Persian (or was it in Arabic?) is ‘Laila and Majnu.’
The original play is in Uzbek, it being from Uzbekistan, a country bordering Russia, earlier part of Soviet Union. It is 96% Sunni Islam but good people with liberal approach and practice of their religion, full of tolerance to non-Muslims and minority Shia Muslims. No wonder its Constitution provides for freedom of religion.
By the way, interestingly, the word ‘Majnu’ means mad man, probably for that reason an eponymous title is given to the play. The real name of the boy is Qays ibn al-Mulawwah.
This is a one-man show with the message of Universal Love and Tolerance among mankind regardless of race, gender or religion. A noble effort with a sublime message no doubt; but like all one-man shows or even pantomimes, it becomes boring and ennui descends on you. Mercifully, it lasted just about an hour.
As I left the theatre, a thought was troubling me, the thought that despite this kind of effort to propagate peace, understanding, tolerance, brotherhood and love among mankind cutting across race and religion, why the evil of hatred persists and the good of love does not prevail?
It is said that man is always anxious, fretful when evil befalls him and grudging when good befalls him. He...more