Tughlaq: Play Scene 7 - Summary & Analysis

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      Following an announcement for the citizens of Delhi to leave for Daultabad the playwright presents a scene of a camp on the Delhi-Daultabad route in which appear Aziz still dressed as a Brahmin, and Aazam, followed by a Hindu woman who kneels before Aziz. The woman begs to be allowed to go out of the camp for a day as she has to take her sick child to a doctor. But Aziz refuses and advises her to consult the hakim (a doctor is called hakim in Arabic) in his tent. However, he openly asks her for money if she wants leave as he will have to stribe his senior officials. The poor woman expresses her inability to do so, still she pleads sincerely, but all in vain. She is snubbed badly only to get back to her tent.

      When Aazam intervenes and advises him to allow her on humanitarian ground, Aziz gives a callous reply that he knows her child’s illness is incurable, so why waste, both time and money. His niece too had died of the same disease. In a way he is doing her a favor. The woman cries bitterly and leaves the stage.

      Jus then, eight members of a family appear on the stage-husband, wife and six children. Aziz, the civil officer, asks the man to explain delay in return, as they were expected before sunset. (The man, being a Kafir had to guard the dead bodies of those executed by the Sultan in the palace yard). The man tells him that he was delayed as he had to bury the two corpses lying on the road. A genuine cause indeed, Aziz asks him if he had verified that they were Muslims sure before burial, otherwise he may land in trouble if some body reports they were Hindus. Anyway, he should note it for future.

      On being asked about, his duty in Delhi, the man introduces himself as a Kafir who had to guard the dead bodies of those executed by the Sultan in the Palace yard for a week or so before they were carried out to the canal outside the city. There again he had to guard them against thieves as their relatives, instead of paying money, for the dead bodies, tried to steal at night. How funny it is! Even the rich people wont’t pay, but steal. Laughter follows.

      Aziz sends the man and his family to a tent kept for them and says sarcastically that he, being an inportant person shouldn’t die as the Sultan will need persons like him all the more. Further, Aziz teases him by asking question what he is going to do till the time Sultan arrives in Daultabad. Will he produce couple of children? The man amuses the audience when he says that now is the time when they will get married first, they didn’t find time for it in Delhi.

      Aazam, an expert pick-pocket, proposes to collect money as there are enough rich men in camp, but he is discouraged by Aziz. Once he is caught both of them will be ruined. Aazam finds no future unless he follows his old practice. For want of money they will starve. He thinks of his bleak future. One day if his fingers fail to pick pockets, he will be punished. He will lose arms and legs and become a beggar. He is desperate now, frustrated. Aziz, however, is practical and optimistic who calls him a pathetic fellow as Aazam fails to see future in politics. Future lies in politics, says he. The world of politics is beautiful as it assures “wealth, success, position, power” and how funny, it is full of brainless people today. An intelligent person has a bright future in politics; and he can earn everything. He is also aware of the fact that they can’t pull on like that for long in the service of the Sultan. Therefore, they ought to do something new. He proposes to make counterfeit coins and thus exploit the Sultan’s announcement regarding introduction of copper coins having the same value as silver dinar. This will also enable Azam to get rid of pick-pocketing and also the risk of being caught.

Critical Analysis

      Both Aziz and Aazam are the commentators who reflect the evil times of Muhammad, but they themselves are the evil-doers. Aziz is a deception, whereas Aazam is a pick-pocket.

      The scene is highly significant in so far as it exposes the prevailing corrupt practices in the times of Muhammad Tughlaq and also the wrong-headedness of politicians and their brainless decision. Bribery had become the order of the day. It is evident from the words of Aziz who demands money in the name of senior officials in order to help the crying woman with a sick child - “I could try and bribe my senior officials, but you’ll have to pay for it.”

      Aazam’s comment on the man with a woman and six kids confirms that people had become so immoral that they could produce six children without marriage - “God, what a dirty man! I am feeling sick.” And the excuse is that they “couldn’t find time for it in Delhi.”

      Aziz finds future in politics and calls it “a beautiful world” where one can earn “wealth success, position, power,” simply because there is dearth of intelligent people in politics, “it’s full of brainless people with not an idea in their head”. His proposal to Aazam that they should enter politics and make counterfeit coins is a direct and satirical comment on the Sultan’s decision to introduce copper coin having the same value as a silver dinar.

      The scene also serves the purpose of dramatic relief or comic relief immediately after the scene full of horror and uncertainty due to an atmosphere of conspiracy and murder and bloodshed. The treachery of Shihab and the Amirs, revenge of Ratansingh and Muhammad’s all the more involvement in criminal actions - all these had made the audience tense and horrified. The present scene is full of light-hearted fun and amusement. It relieves the tension in the audience.

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