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Persuasive social play

GUDIPOODI SRIHARI

The play deals with deteriorating education system.



ODE TO TEACHERS The play portrays the decline in the standards of teaching.

N. Taraka Rama Rao, earned name, over the years for his theatre engagements as a writer of purposeful plays and for some research oriented productions too. As part of it, he wrote a play titled aptly Guru Brahma, on the decline of teaching standards and position of a teacher in society. In his view, private schools are simply eating away into the education system, corrupting virtually all the officers and the teachers. . . While penning the woes of the education system, Rama Rao wanted to give a comparative picture of schools from Vedic period down to the present day. The play won him a central award and also a grant to stage its maiden production at Ravindra Bharati, last week. The State Government's Department of Culture, also coordinated with the staging of the play which was staged by artistes of Sri Kala Nikethan. D.S.N. Murthy from the faculty of Theatre Arts, , Central University who directed the production, concentrated more on methods applied to the spread of literacy and higher learning. It started with the traditional Gurukula system — residential hermitage where the guru not only taught his students but also provided boarding and lodging.

He divided the subject into three major acts. Owing to social conditions then, education was available only to the upper castes and the rich. But people in the lower strata were left off. In case the Guru thought that he was wasting time on "moneyed fools" and ignoring the intelligent poor, he tried to go to the latter's rescue and brought them under his tutelage. But the rulers duly punished the teacher treating this as offence. But the structure of a school, in Vedic period down the ages was more of a playwright's imagination. But when it came to privatisation of education in the contemporary world where education has turned out to be a profit making venture there was some touch of reality, coupled with a bit of humour and sarcasms . To explain this process, playwright Rama Rao created characters of a guru to whom he gave the common name of "Vidyaranya" in all the acts.

Deplorable trends

He stressed the point that privatisation of education and private schools managed by "uneducated brutes" using political influence have indirectly killed government schools and added to the burden of the parents. . But here the character of Vidyaranya was a rebel, against oppression in every period. In the process, we find many characters and artistes playing two or more roles, as they appear in different periods of time. Goparaju Ramana and G. Venkat Rao played Vidyaranya (the roles of teachers) in different scenes. Indira played "guru patni" (who too has a role in educating the inmates of the ashram) and also appeared as Parvathi, a teacher from the modern education system.

B.S.S. Sastry donned the role of a minister for a medieval kingand Parandhamayya in the contemporary scene. Saibaba played Ranganayakul, an illiterate and corrupt individual who runs a private college. Master Poojith, Srinivasulu, Srinivasa Rao and Nagendra Kumar also figured in other important roles.

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