Kalidas has an unparalleled reputation as a poet not only in India, but also all over the world. Globalisation opened up its doors to Kalidas’ works in 1789 when Sir William Jones translated his play Abhigyan Shakuntalam. These facts will bring you closer to history as well as Kalidas’ brilliance.
8. Separation and Reunion of Dushyanta and Shankuntala in Seven Acts
The seven act play is about the Recognition of Shakuntala or Abhijana Shakuntalam. King Dushyanta marries Shakuntala, but has to leave for Hastinapur to fulfil his commitments. Dushyanta gives Shankuntala a ring, to be shown to the king when she goes to his courts, to claim her place as the queen. Shakuntala is lost in her thoughts and fails to attend to the sage Durvasa. The angry sage curses her by casting a spell over Dhushyanta to forget about her existence. The King can be freed from the spell only if Shakuntala shows him the ring. The encounter, marriage, separation and reunion of Dushyanta and Shankuntala are what we get to see in this play.
7. India was named After ‘Bharat,’Shakuntala’s Son
Abhigyan Shakuntalam is a play which revolves around the love story of King Dushyanta and Shakuntala. Shakuntala was the daughter of sage Vishwamitra and the Apsara Meneka. Abandoned at birth by her parents, Shakuntala was brought up in the secluded hermitage of the sage Kanva http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanva, and grows up into an attractive, but innocent maiden. Shakuntala married King Dushyanta and gave birth to Bharat, after whom India was named Bharat.
6. King Dushyanta Met Shakuntala by Pure Stroke of Luck
Dushyanta was out for hunting when he was interrupted by a hermit when he was about to shoot an antelope with his arrow. The King was told that the antelope belongs to the sage Kanva and the sanctity of the place should not be violated by killing the antelope. The King abstained from killing the antelope and was invited to the hermitage. It was here that the King had his first encounter with Shankuntala.
5. King Dushyanta Lost and Regained Memory of His Marriage
A fisherman discovered the ring in the stomach of a fish, which he caught. Shakuntala had lost the ring in the river when she ran her hand through the water while crossing it. The ring was shown to the king by the policemen, who had caught the fisherman for theft. The king then regained his memory of marrying Shakuntala.
4. The Play Was First Translated by Sir William Jones
The first Indian drama ever to be translated into a western language was Abhigyan Shakuntalam. The translation was done by Sir William Jones in 1789. Till 1889 the play was translated in 46 languages.
3. No Tragedy Love Story
The unique feature of the play is the absence of tragedy. Since the play is a love drama the only negative emotions introduced in the play are worry, anxiety, sorrow and heartburn, but these emotions are just momentary.
2. The Play Is Not the Same as Described in Mahabharata
The version of Abhigyan Shakuntalam in the famous epic of Mahabharata is slightly different from the original version. In the Mahabharata, Shakuntala had to stay apart from her husband, King Dushyanta, for a very long time. It is only when their son Bharat was born that Dushyanta found him playing in the forest with a couple of lion cubs, opening their mouth with his bare hands, trying to count their teeth. Seeing a little boy playing with such courage amongst lions, Dushyanta becomes curious about the boy and asks him about his parents. The little boy then takes him to the sage Kanva’s ashram where Dushyanta meets Shakuntala and remembers everything.
1. It has been Translated and Narrated By Several International Communities
The musical adaption of the play was done in many countries including Austria, France, Italy, Hungary and Norway. It has also been staged internationally. The play gained a lot of international acclaim after its translation and was admired by many great philosophers and theater personalities.