Tughlaq: Play Scene 12 - Summary & Analysis

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      This is the scene of the palace where Aziz and Aazam are lodged as guests - Aziz as the holy man Ghiyas-ud-din and Aazam as his disciple. As the curtain rises Aziz is seen eating some fruit on the stage. Thereafter, enters Aazam. From their conversation it is clear that Aazam is disgusted with the kind of games that Aziz has been playing and that he is going now: “I’m fed up of these games, Aziz, I’m going”. He wants Aziz should also accompany him, and for easy escape he has arranged for two horses after having bribed two servants of the Palace. Aziz is annoyed and calls him a fool as he must have made them suspicious. In spite of his assurances that nothing will happen to them, Aazam, however, feels unsafe. Aazam describes the city, where people are behaving like ‘mad dogs’ and the streets are full of dead bodies” “Corpses and flies”. Aziz tries to persuade Aazam to stay in the palace itself as it is “the safest place now” in view of the conditions outside. However, Aazam is not the least convinced. He has his own apprehensions. He says, the Sultan has gone mad. He can’t be trusted. This palace is not safe.

Safe? This palace? Ha! The Sultan’s mad. How can you trust him? Don’t you know how he can slaughter people? How can you trust this lord of skins?

      Aazam further describes Muhammad Tughlaq’s abnormal behavior in the dead of night - either it was his sleeplessness or sleep-walking which he himself witnessed.

It was a man wandering alone in the garden. He went to a heap, stood there for half an hour, still as a rock. Then he dug into the heaps with his fists, raised his fists and let the coins trickle out. It was frightening. And you know who it was? your Sultan. He does that every night - every single night - it’s like witchcraft.

      Aziz asks Aazam not to run away because Sultan’s insomnia (sleeplessness) is nothing serious and if still he insists on leaving the place he will be left behind in an awkward situation without any explanation of his disciple’s (Aazam’s) sudden disappearance.

      However, Aazam tries to prevail upon him saying that they have a huge bundle of presents enough for them forever and so wisdom lies in their secret escape. He fails to convince Aziz, but is asked to get out.

Critical Analysis

      This short scene tells the audience that Muhammad Tughlaq has failed miserably to “translate his vision of Daultabad as capital that will bring peace and harmony in the kingdom. Ironically enough, it has become a place of starvation, corruption, bloodshed and riots and deceitfulness. Muhammad himself stands disillusioned, helpless and above all spiritually tortured. He suffers from insomnia, sleep-walking like lady Macbeth performing absurd and abnormal gestures. He emerges as a tragic figure who wins the sympathy of the audience.

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