How revolutionary Aurobindo turned saint
What goes into the making of a bomb? - a dose of history, some social commentary and maybe a dash of modern politics. In a society like ours where a controversy does not wait for the hat to be dropped, it is perhaps fitting that the playwright and director, Bratya Basu took the onus upon himself to write the script of what may very well be called a Bengali drama, dealing with alternative history. Titled Boma (The Bomb), the play created a ripple at the ongoing 18th ‘Bharat Rang Mahotsav’ in the national Capital.
Basu’s latest work chronicles the transformative years in the life of Aurobindo Ghosh. Beautifully portrayed by Debshankar Halder, the play showcases a phase of the radical revolutionary leader turned spiritual guru, who was accused and tried for being the mastermind behind the fables of Muzaffarpur bombing that took away the lives of two innocent British civilians and elevated Khudiram Bose to martyrdom.
Basu commented on the play by saying: “A lot of powerful ingredients make up Boma. There are eternal truths that move beyond the historical limits.”Boma is based on the Alipore bomb case trial of 1908 when Aurobindo Ghosh, a nationalist and his brother Barindra were jailed along with 33 people following a blast on April 29, that killed the wife and daughter of a lawyer. The target was a British judge who escaped.
It’s not only a recap of those years but is a nuanced take on modern-day politics with references to leadership issues, lobbies, groups, mistrust and ego clashes. It even portrays an atmaghati (self-defeating) leadership, which in real life forced “Revolutionary Aurobindo” to become “Rishi Aurobindo”.Boma contains numerous intricacies that go beyond the story of a trial. At one stage, anarchist Barindra Ghosh portrayed by Krishnendu Dewanji, is shown transforming into a megalomaniac of sorts, apparently symbolising some of today’s leaders.
In contrast, his brother Aurobindo steps into the life of a “rishi” before settling down in an ashram in Pondicherry. The nature of political ideology, which exists in an inherently personal sphere and has tumultuous co-existence with the party, has been beautifully enumerated by Bratya Basu. He has expressed this through the often-revered and chastised figure of Ghosh, the rebel turned saint. Ghosh is more often than not seen as the leader that ditched the cause of his nation. The defense is a heartfelt treatise on individualism and the choices that one has.
Poulami Basu, Anirban Ghosh, Debashis, Subrata Pathak and the team performed brilliantly. The end of this ‘political play’ basically gives a profound philosophical insight into the very workings of party politics.