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ISSN: 0974-892X


Jan-July, 2014



Unrequited Love in Ashad Ka Ek Din

Dr. Manjusha Kaushik

Assistant Prof. of English, Kanya Gurukul Campus, G.K.V. Haridwar

An infinite volume of man’s ambitions overshadowing his marital bliss is created in literature since ever. Macbeth’s ambition defeats his happy relationship with his wife, Lady Macbeth. Michael Henchard in The Mayor of Casterbridge sells his wife, Susan, for him, she is the main hurdle in the growth of his career. In The Tale of Grandmother by R. K. Narayan, Bala, the central figure finds, after much struggle, her husband enjoying riches, at a distant land. In characters, under the impact of ambitions, away from even the sentimental attitude of Kalidasa and Mallika in Ashad Ka Ek Din, enjoy their own style of wish fulfillment. Since ever and ever, the ambition of man has been highlited in literature.
Love is one of the primary emotions of the human heart and has created a more powerful feeling over the life and behavior of individual man and woman than any other. It gives an enjoyment of life. Rakesh is a famous Hindi playwright of India. He always tries to establish meaningful relationship which is much away from the social norms of the society. He is really an excellent dramatist and creates a new era in the field of drama. Each of his major work is set in a different historical framework. Ashadh ka Ek Din is the first Hindi play by Rakesh published in 1958 and is considered the first modern Hindi play also. The title of the play derives from the opening line of Sanskrit dramatist, Kalidasa’s play Meghaduta.“The plays of Rakesh contain mediaval references, romanticism and contemporary perspective.”(Sharma, 16 )  ^jkds”k ds ukVdksa esa e/;dkyhu cks/k] jkeksafVd Kku cks/k vkSj vk/kqfud cks/k dh n`f’V gSA*  
The play is divided into three acts. The first act dwells upon the pleasant union of Mallika and Kalidasa. Out of sheer joy she is totally merging her identity with him and craves for settle down her family.  In the second act of the play, Kalidasa is going to Ujjaini to attain the status of a good poet and be completely involved in the stately affairs. In the concluding act, he comes back to Mallika and realizes his mistakes. In the end of the drama, he wanted to marry with Mallika but could not fulfill his desire.
The play opens with the conversation of mother and daughter. They vary in their opinion on   Kalidasa whether he is a reliable man or not. Ambika wanted that Kalidasa should marry her daughter while Mallika believes in the feeling, emotion and sincerity of human heart. There is a conflict between the ideology of mother and daughter. Ambica is pretty sure that Kalidasa will not marry her daughter. While Mallika says:” You know I don’t want to be married. So why do you keep trying? Do you think that my words are meaningless?” (8)
Ambika-  I am beginning to see that what you say is going to be true. Agnimitra says that people are not prepared to this sort of relationship. They say-
Mallika: What do they say? What right do they have to say anything? Mallika’s life is her own concern. If she wants to waste it, then what right has anyone to criticize her? (8)
The strength of love enables her to bear the prittle prattle of others. This is not so, for Ambika. Naturally, she cannot ignore all such nuisance. Kalidasa is a cause of misunderstanding between the two. The attitude of both the women has the correct stand. As a mother, she thinks of her daughter and as a daughter she knows her feelings, passion and sincerity to him.
Ambika: You might not have said it, but I am saying it. Today your life is your affair. I have no control over you.
Mallika: Why are you talking like this? Why aren’t you trying to understand me? (8)
Gradually Ambika is trying to say that she is not ready to bear the rumors about Mallika and Kalidasa. Here the dramatist hammers the philosophy if love is strong, passionate and selfless it will cross all the boundaries. Mankind communicates this “I know that people are talking. Mother I also know of your pain, yet for me there is no feeling of guilt. I have chosen a feeling that is in my heart. For me this relationship is the most important one of all. Infect, I am in love with my own feeling which is pure, tender.” (8)
As a mother, she is never ready to accept her feelings and declare that she hates him. Her house is being ruined by him. Overall, Mallika is never ready to accept the hand of another man. She is trying to convince her mother. She says: “I only want you to understand today…you say that your relationship with him is one of the feelings. What is this feeling? If it is true that he feels so much for you? Why doesn’t he want to marry you? “(16)
At this comment Mallika defends her and replies “ Mother, you are always unkind to him.” (17)   Here the role of Ambika is right and clear. She is not against Kalidasa inwardly but against his behavior why is he not taking a right decision for Mallika.
I understand this sort of person very well. His relationship with you is one in which you are an instrument of his self- love and pride. But aren’t you also a living human being. Doesn’t he, or don’t you have a duty to yourself? Tomorrow when your mother is dead and there is no food in the house, how will you answer the question before you? Will this feeling be the answer to that question? Tell me again that this is Vilom speaking, not me. (17)
The role of Mallika is very positive here. She is not ready to disclose her mother’s views to Kalidasa , because she knew that if Kalidasa comes to know the real feeling of her mother , he would not be ready to go. She says that she does not want to insist on her selfish desires just when his life is taking a new direction. The mother has developed a negative attitude to Kalidasa. She is not ready to believe his sincerity to her daughter. He is a cause of disturbance in her life. Today nobody is ready to take her hand as a wife.
The role of Kalidasa is also very critical. Previously, he was not ready to go but when Mallika forced him, he got ready and accepts the proposal of Matrigupta. The conversation which is going on between the two is passionate, as well as depressing.
Kalidasa: Think again Mallika! It is not just a question of accepting the honour and patronage. I have a much more important question than that.
Mllika:” I am the question… am not I?  Sit here. You know me. Don’t you? Kalidasa looks at her. You think that by turning down this opportunity and remaining here you will make me happy. I know that when you go I will feel empty inside, and perhaps I will feel lonesome. Even then I am not deceiving myself. From my heart I say that you must go.” (31) Though Mallika is frustrated due to the departure of Kalidasa but she behaves like a powerful and selfless beloved. Not for single moment she thinks about herself. She is trying to console him in the best possible way:
If you stayed here in the village, where would you ever find opportunity to develop your talent and again she says - believe me your going away will not mean separation. The wind, the clouds and the deer, they all go with you, I am not very far away from you. And whenever I want to feel close to you I will go to the mountain top and there lose myself among the clouds.  (31)
Mallika’s love is so pure that in every possible way she tries her level best to convince Kalidasa. Had Mallika not accepted his departure, he would not have gone?  Nikshep requests her that she is the only one who can change his decision. Nikshep” Mallika, only you can make this bitterness disappear, opportunity doesn’t wait for anyone. If Kalidasa doesn’t go, it will be no loss to the state. The position of Poet Laureate won’t remain vacant.” (23) Mallika: No, he must not turn down this opportunity. This honor is recognition of his great talent. He must not deprive his talent of this privilege, please, let’s go… I want to go with you to the temple of Jagadamba. (23)
Mallika knows if she convinces him he will be ready to go. As mother, Ambika doesn’t like his going, because she knows very well what would happen with her after his departure. If we analyze the character of Mallika she is totally pure as heart. She provides facility as well as moral strength to him. Outwardly, she shows herself as a powerful woman but inwardly she is really a true beloved like Meera.” The creation of Mallika’s character is absolutely original. In this play, Mallika is a childhood friend of Kalidasa as well as his fiancé during young age,that shows  a source of inspiration in his creativity.” (Jadhav, 93 ) efYydk ds pfj= dk xBu bl ukVd dk ekSfyd ;ksxnku gSA efYydk dkfynkl ds cpiu dh lgpjh] ;kSoudky dh iz;lh vkSj dkO; l`tu dh izsj.kkewfrZ gSA
In the second act of the play Kalidasa plays a dignified role in the court of Matrigupta. Out of this, he could not get time to visit the village and meet Mallika. One thing is striking here that place has its own identity. When he was in the village he was totally involved with Mallika but when he came here he has other duties also like, the responsibility of the state to the people of Ujjaini etc. He could not realize his mistake that someone is waiting for him. She sacrifices her life for the good cause, as the career of Kalidasa. Nikshep feels sorry about Mallika and says that he never expected that Kalidasa’s stay in ujjaini would make him a permanent resident of the capital. At this Mallika, replies: that “If an individual is successful then slander will be linked with his name?”(36) Nikshep discloses that Kalidasa married the Gupta princess. Somehow, Mallika does not react and replies that there is no harm in it because equal status is necessary for a successful married life. There is a great difference in the status of Kalidasa now and then: “Kalidasa desertion would definitely stir hopelessness and a sense of deception in her.”  (Jadhav, 88 ) ^dkfynkl dk fu’Bqj cudj mls bl rjg NksM+ tkuk fu”fpr gh mlesa VwVu vkSj fc[kjko dh Hkkouk tkxk,xkA*
When Kalidasa reteruns he should have met Mallika and explained the solution with regard to his marital bliss. This he could not do because he did not have courage to see into her eyes with the same passion as he saw earlier. His inner struggle checks him. The truth of his writings is that Mallika is the centre point.  He was helpless to disclose the feelings of his heart. Though he married Pringumanjari but he missed Mallika all the time. Kalidasa’s love for Mallika comes in the category of at the highest level.  His wife is calculating the character of her husband. After few moments she comes to realize that Kalidasa marry Priyangumanjari only under pressure, otherwise he is involved with Mallika. This frees her to visit that place where Mallika is living. She sent Rangini and Sangini to inquire about her likings, disliking of her attachment with Kalidasa. Her heart aches and says: “Today after all these years, you have come back, I always thought that when you would come the day would be dark, filled with clouds, like the time before, and I would soak myself in the rain, then say- look, I have read everything you have written.” (42) Priyangumanjari has a desire to see Mallika because she knows well that her husband is very much attached with her. So she is trying to show her concern for Mallika:
Priyangu – Truly, you are very beautiful. I know, we all stranger, but you do not seem a stranger to me.
Mallika- Please, sit down.
Priyangu – No, I do not want to sit down. I want to look at you and your house. He speaks often of you and the house. During the days when Meghduta was being written, he was often reminded of this place. (49)
Priyangumanjari realizes that she is really attached to the works of Kalidasa. Thats why she wants to explain that Kalidasa also missed this place and when he speaks of life here, he forgets the world around-inclusive or political life. As a daughter of a king, she does not like the negligence of her husband and tries her level best to do anything for Kalidasa’s sake. When she comes to realize the secret of Kalidasa’s love for Mallika, she makes a plan to visit here and tries to see her. She says: “I do not want him to feel the absence of this place. His missing it is often very harmful sometimes he loses patience over nothing which means he wastes time and energy. His time is very valuable. I do not want it to be wasted.”(52) 
She is trying to give a helping hand to Mallika because Kalidasa will be very happy to see his wife’s support for his beloved. She wants to remodel her house by her permission. Here the dramatist insinuates the real character of Mallika that she is really a self-respecting woman, for the sake of her respect, she is not ready to take the helping hand of Priyangumanj. When Mallika disagrees with this proposal she says: “Still, I would like this house to be remodelled. There is a likeness between this house and his childhood. I have already given the orders to build a new house in place of Matul’s. I’ve told the architects to bring carved stone from Ujjaini to begin the job. I’m sorry I won’t be able to remain here to supervise the construction.” (53)    
The queen wanted that Mallika should marry with someone because if the latter marries Kalidasa would also pay attention towards his political affairs. Mallika feels embarrassed and to stop this discussion: Priyangumanjari asks a question to Mallika: why? Don’t you want to have your own home and family? (54)  Her only feeling is with regard to passion for Kalidasa. Rest has lost all the meaning for her.
Hearing the conversation between the two Ambica realizes the intention of the queen to her daughter. She also knows the relationship between Kalidasa and Mallika. It is the weakness of Mallika’s character that she does not come out in front and declare her love for him. If she would have such stamina, the condition would be different. Uptill now, Ambica has a feeling of contempt to Kalidasa because he is insulting Mallika through his wife. She says that whatever Mallika have done for him he wants to pay her: “Today he wants to pay you for your feelings. Why don’t you accept it? The house will be repaired and you can live there as their maid servant. What greater honor could you receive than this? (56)
Mallika, as a person of faith, declines to believe her mother. She outrightly replies that Priyangumanjari is expressing her own feelings rather than that of the Poet, Kalidasa. There is no reason to blame anyone else for the inappropriate behavior of hers. The mother is thinking that Kalidasa is providing some facilities to her in lieu of her attachment with her.
Introspection on the part of Kalidasa brings reality to him as a blunder on his part. He respects Ambica’s attitude now: “Why did I hesitate to go away from here? One reason was that I wasn’t confident of myself. I did not know how I would react to the honor and fame after the life of poverty and dishonor. I was afraid that it would overwhelm me and change the directions of my life. This fear was not unfounded.” (73) To some extent he is trying to express his secret feelings through the words “My life of poverty. Possibly, I had a desire to prove myself to everyone who had insulted me and laughed at me.” (73) Though he got success in his effort but he lost his precious jam and he accepts the inner struggle:
But I knew that I could not be happy. Time and again I wanted to make myself believe that the shortcomings were in me not in the situation. If I could change myself I would be happy. But that was not to happen. I could not change, nor could I be happy. I received honor, copies of whatever I write were sent around the country, yet I was not happy. For someone else this atmosphere and life would have been very enjoyable for me it was not. (73)
Under the belief of being able to manage the changed scenario of life, he lost the moorings.  As much as he involved with political world, his lady love moved away to that distance which was not expected. So, he decided to leave the responsibility as an administrator and be back.
Yes, because I was free from my love of power and authority. Today I am free from everything that has been binding me. The people of Kashmir think that I have become a sanyasi. But I have not. I am only free of the form of Matragupta, so that again I may be Kalidasa. The bond which I broke in order to go away always pulled me back. The oneness I felt with everything here I never felt there. I remember the shape and form of everything here. Until today the look that was in your eyes the day of our parting has been imprinted on my heart. I kept trying to convince myself that whenever I would come back everything here would be the same. (71, 72)
There are some shades of man’s character that we can not disclose infront of others but in the series of self internalization, it comes out clearly.( verma, 154 ) ^euq’; ds pfj= ds dqN jax ,sls gksrs gSA ftudks ge nwljksa ds lekus iznf”kZr ugha dj ldrs ysfdu vkRefpUru ds }kjk oks [kqn gh lekus vk tkrs gSA* Ironically enough, the decision is rather late. The changes have occurred in the life of Mallika as well. She mothers a child. Her life has ties with someone else. The realization of his folly increases the reader’s sympathies with Mallika. She is pained all through and Kalidasa is suffering now at the same level as hers. Out of sheer compulsions, she marries another person. At this Kalidasa is realizing his mistake. He is involved somewhere else. Here we have sympathy for Mallika because she was the responsibility of Kalidasa but he could not do his duty proper. Feeling of insecurity is very much in her. She is not living with Kalidasa, but totally concerned with her. She cannot imagine her life without him. ‘’The people of Kashmir opt to revolt but since Kalidasa was enable to suppress it so he runs away. Rumours spread that Kalidasa has become a Sanyasi. This rumorus hurt Mallika badly. Her very existence is shattered and looses all hope.’’ (Jadav, 88). ^^d”ehj dh turk fonzksg djrh gS rFkk fonzksg dks nckus esa vleFkZ dkfynkl Hkkx [kM+s gksrs gSA izokn QSyrk fd dkfynkl lU;klh cu x;s gSA ;g izokn efYydk dks rksM+ nsrk gSA&mldk vfLrRo fc[kj tkrk gS vkSj lkjh vk”kk,a VwV tkrh gSA** She is not ready to accept a wrong decision of Kalidasa that he may be as a sanyasi. She wanted to see him as a renowned scholar. The dramatist very beautifully describes minute details of both the lives. He believes that fate is important in man’s life. It is crystal-clear both are in intense love but could not marry. At one moment Kalidasa declares his love for her:  “But there is life to life beyond this. We can make a new beginning from this very moment.” (76) This line expresses the intensity of love. All through he wanted to express his love to Mallika but he could not do so. Like many tragic characters they too suffer much, but Mohan Rakesh’s logical growth to the plot ascertains his play a distinct place in Indian English drama. The life like suffocations, bindings, questions of career, complications, matured and immature belief and abound all, human acceptance of only good. The purity of love does not let evil even peep into the behaviors and decisions of beings. Whatever goes unwanted, that is the need of the time- beyond human control- a path leading to the pain and agony. Both have separate body but have one soul. Both are made for each other but could not lead their life together. So their love is really an unrequited love. “The play on the whole depicts Mallika’s struggle.” (Sharma, 27 )  ^lEiw.kZ ukVd esa efYydk dk l?k’kZ O;kIr gSA* The struggle leads her life with a feeling of nothingness and meaningless. Even than the dramatist binds the two distinct banks- of passion unquestioned and of questions of doubtful and dubious nature- by putting forth the tendencies of human nature and bring these to the land of renunciation the part of two Sadhakas who take life as Sadhana.


  1. Jadhav, Ramesh Kumar. Mohan Rakesh Vyaktitva and Kratitva. Hydrabad: Gita Prakashan, 1989, Print.
  2. Rakesh, Mohan.   Ashad Ka Ek Din .New Delhi: National School of Drama, 1998, Print.
  3. Sharma,Ghananand M. Mohan Rakesh Ka Natyasahitya. Rohtak: Shanti Prrakashan , 1988, Print.
  4. Verma, Renu. Kathakar Mohan Rakesh. Delhi: Priya Sahitya Sadan, 2008, Print.