Act 1 The play opens with a puja to Ganesha, as the Bhagavata asks that Ganesha bless the performance that he and the company are about to put on. Then he places the audience in the setting of the play, Dharmapura, and begins to introduce the central characters. The first is Devadatta, the son of a Brahmin who outshines the other pundits and poets of the kingdom. The second is Kapila, the son of the iron-smith who is skilled at physical feats of strength. The two are the closest of friends.
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The play also deals with woman emancipation. Padmini gives preference to her sexual desires and gets an opportunity to remain with both the persons she loves though fails to fulfil her desire the mind of her husband and the body of her lover.
Puja is done. He tells an anecdote of two best friends namely Devadatta man of mind and Kapila man of the body. Upon asking, he tells that while he was defecating, a horse taunted him by talking in a human voice. Bhagavata does not believe him. While they are arguing, the horse namely Hayavadana enters the stage who has a head of the human and body of a horse.
His look astonishes the audience. Bhagavata enquires Hayavadana about its condition, suspecting that some curse might have fallen on him. However, Hayavadana rejecting his opinion tells that his mother, a princess fell in love with a horse. After 15 years the horse attained the human shape.
Thus he cursed her and she became a horse and later on gave birth to Hayavadana. He also asks Actor-1 to accompany Hayavadana. Devadatta is sitting on a chair. Devadatta requests him to leave him alone. However, when Devadatta shows his seriousness towards his love, Kapila also becomes serious. Devadatta gives clues about the residence of the girl and Kapila sets out for her search.
He succeeds in finding her Padmini at last and talks to her about Devadatta. Through the efforts of Kapila, Devadatta and Padmini get married. However, in a course of time, Padmini gets attracted towards the Kapila because of his strong body and Devadatta becomes aware of it. One day the three decide to visit some fair in Ujjain. On the way, Devadatta asks Kapila and Padmini to visit some temple. They resist but Devadatta does not listen to them and both go away ultimately.
Kapila and Padmini return and find Devadatta missing. Kapila sets out in his search and found him lying dead, he also beheads himself. In haste, Padmini mixes up the heads of both. Goddess Kali knows the intentions of Padmini and says that humans can never give up selfishness. Both Padmini and Devadatta return back happily. However, Kapila being deeply hurt decides to remain in the forest in solitude.
Act 2 After some months Padmini becomes pregnant. Their relationship loses affection and both quarrel often. One day she, along with her child, goes to the forest to meet Kapila who does not like her coming and asks her to go back. But she insists telling him that he is the rightful father of the child. She also asks him to complete the uncompleted love by sleeping with him.
Kapila cannot resist and both start love-making Meanwhile, Devadatta also comes to the forest with a sword. Both are convinced that they cannot solve the matter of Padmini and thus decide to end their life by fighting. While Bhagavata is in confusion, Actor 1 arrives with a child who was handed over to him by the tribe in the forest who cannot speak while he had gone with Hayavadhana.
He tells Bhagavata that on the way Hayavadhana left him alone and he returned back. That patriotic horse also comes and Bhagavata at once recognizes him as Hayavadana. Hayavadana tells Bhagavata that Goddess Kali instead of giving him the shape of humans made him a complete horse. However, he still has the voice of humans and he wants to get rid of it. He has heard that those who sing patriotic songs have the worst voice. This is why he was singing National Anthem of India so that he might lose it.
Hayavadana starts singing songs and suddenly starts laughing. Seeing him laughing, the child also starts laughing and consequently their voices are interchanged.
Concluding Puja is performed. Read Further at Inflibnet.
Girish Karnad – Hayavadana – Summary & Analysis
The play also deals with woman emancipation. Padmini gives preference to her sexual desires and gets an opportunity to remain with both the persons she loves though fails to fulfil her desire the mind of her husband and the body of her lover. Puja is done. He tells an anecdote of two best friends namely Devadatta man of mind and Kapila man of the body. Upon asking, he tells that while he was defecating, a horse taunted him by talking in a human voice.
Hayavadana Summary by Girish Karnad
Since it was necessary for her to earn a living, she began working as a nurse and cook general housekeeper for the bedridden wife of a certain Dr. Raghunath Karnad, a doctor in the Bombay Medical Services. Some five years later, and while the first wife was still alive, Krishnabai and Dr. Raghunath Karnad were married in a private ceremony.