Oliva Roy


For centuries, the Brahminical social order in India has endorsed hegemonic masculinity and reinforced as well as legitimized a pseudo-equal relationship between men and women in Indian traditional, orthodox society, where men exercise coercive power, authority and dominance over women. Throughout the past centuries, women have experienced marginalization, suffered exploitation, discrimination and subjugation in every sphere of life, notably in economic affairs, political activities and decision-making processes. Women have been labelled as the ‘inferior strata’, the ‘voiceless other’ and the ‘subaltern’ in our society. Vijay Tendulkar, the doyen of Marathi theatre, has portrayed women, not as weak and submissive victims of patriarchal whims, but as strong bold, aggressive and strong characters having a rebellious spirit. Vijay Tendulkar’s women characters are all victims of patriarchal social order, but instead of suffering in silence, they choose to fight against wrongful gender stereotyping. His social plays deal with the controversial issues like - gender inequality, Hegemonic masculinity and the violence against women, pervasive in India. He has unmasked the brazen hypocrisy of the so-called cultured men of the 20th century India. His plays candidly portray the vicious forms of violence, abuse and discrimination prevalent in Indian society. Tendulkar’s magnum opus, Silence! The Court is in Session deals with the various intricacies of patriarchal code and the subjugation of educated women in a traditional male-dominated Indian society where women are destined to dwell in the peripheral region. The objective of this article is to bring to light the persistent struggle of twentieth century educated Indian women to break free from the stringent fetters of patriarchal society and attain complete emancipation from all forms of exploitation and oppression, as delineated in Vijay Tendulkar’s astutely crafted satirical play, Silence! The Court is in Session.