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Shah Jahan

F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre
603 Edmonston Drive
Rockville, MD 20851

April 10, 2016

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Shah Jahan, is a dramatization of the story of the world's greatest love and worst treachery - the story of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal, and his estranged son Aurangzeb - with embedded songs and dance. The original play by D.L. Roy

D. L. Roy’s Shah Jahan
Jogabrata Majumdar

Inheritance of power and wealth in the Mughal Empire was not determined by virtue of the authority bestowed upon the first born child, but by the competition among the princes in achieving military successes and consolidating their power to capture the throne. This often led to rebellions and wars of succession at the cost of human dignity and lives. As a result, throughout many centuries, a complex and ruthless political climate surrounded the Mughal dynasty and their courts. History preaches that autocratic tyranny, no matter how powerful, inevitably gets sucked into dark hole of history and fades into oblivion. In fact, the civilized world has its own constitution based on human dignity and love; and those who conform to this constitution, always survive.

D.L. Roy’s classic drama “Shah Jahan” provides ample testimony to prove that power and wealth should not be the principal criteria for an empire to survive. The certainty for survival lies in love, freedom and dignity of human being, which never prevail in an autocratic system.

To bring out the light and shade in the portrayals of the principal characters namely, Shah Jahan, Jahanara, Aurangzeb, Dara, Nadira, Murad, Suja, Piyara, Jaswant Singh and other minor characters, their words and actions establish protagonists and antagonists. They provide contrast and severe conflict between two different beliefs, namely power monger-ism and the philosophy of eternal truth. In this drama, we would like to direct audience attention on to the inevitable termination of an autocratic system, and what prevails in the end can be exemplified by Tagore’s famous poem “Ora Kaj Karey”:

Raj chhatra bhengey parey, rana danka sabda nahi toley
Jayastambha murha sama artha tar bholey
Rakta makha astra hatey jata rakta ankhi
Sishu pathya kahinitey thakey mukh dhaki
Ora kaj karey deshe deshantarey
Anga banga kalinger samudra nadir ghatey ghatey
**** **** *** ***
Sata sata samrajyer bhagna sesh parey
Ora kaj korey.