Exhibition 8 – SK Sirajuddin

In Hindu mythology, Shakuntala is the wife of Dushyanta and the mother of Emperor Bharata. Her story is told in the Mahabharata and dramatized by many writers, the most famous adaption being Kalidasa’s play Abhijñānaśākuntala .

In Abhijnana Sakuntalam, Kalidasa presents Shakuntala as an embodiment of beauty, feminine charm and womanhood. Kalidasa has presented her in the mould of the ideal heroine of Sanskrit literature as laid down in the texts of Sanskrit dramaturgy. Shakuntala has been presented as an ideal woman like Savitri, and Sita.

Shakuntala is simple, innocent and easily gullible. She has so far not faced such a situation where the outburst of passions can sway the person. She had not learned how to restrain herself, how to hide her feelings. Shakuntala had not known cupid before; hence her heart was bare of armor, and she could not distrust either the sentiment of love or the character of the lover.

The character of Shakuntala has been the pivotal point around which the play revolves. She emerges as the embodiment of Indian womanhood who is ready to make sacrifice when society (Dushyanta) turns indifferent and hostile too.

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