Art of a country is the document of the philosophy of her people. While theatre is the document of the socio-cultural that era. The values and the day to day existence of the population.

We are persistently talking of a patriarchal society, and oppressed women; we are talking about the Indian women not being emancipated like her western counterpart. But is it really so?

I wonder,

Let’s look at a period were the Rama’s and Krishna’s were not so much of iconic or idolatry the period of Dandin, and Rajashekhara.

The deities referred to these plays which are usually metatheatrical in presentation, have a lot of mythology and mysticism woven into it, the worship of the mother goddess also dominates.

The period of Kalidasa could be 370-450 AD, judging by the subtle clues left behind. Kalidasa unlike other poets does not leave either his lineage or the lineage of his patrons.

Agreeing with scholars that he adorned the court of King Chandragupta, vikramaditya it is interesting to note, that the Queen of Chandragupta Dhruva Devi, was first married to Ramagupta the older son of Samudragupta, but she choose to reject him after the marriage and remarry the younger brother.

The probable biography of Kalidasa is traced in the Avantisundari Katha, by later scholars ie between 6th -7th century Sanskrit scholars of kanchipuram, where the Avanti sundari is not just the kings daughter, but crowned Queen of Avanti and her spouse becomes King consort. She is educated enough to hold discussions on politics, poetics, and social ethics. She is trained in martial arts too. She has the moral strength in her to tell Kalidasa to be worthy to be her spouse. The then social structure does not condemn her for it.

At the later end of the same period we have the Queen of Pulakehsi the second who retorted to scholar’s description of sharada as shweta varna (fair one) “I am the embodiment of sharada in learning and I am Krishna Varna”

Essentially what I am trying to say, is somewhere during the advent of the Bhakti cult from the intellectual reasoning era, it could also be invasions of various other cultures, that lead to the suppression of women.

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