Bhamashah – Drama on Vanquishing Inner Enemies

by on July 26, 2015

bhamashah play Monoj Shah

“It is not the Mughals who have defeated you, it is not Akbar who has defeated you, it is not the lack of resources that has brought defeat upon you. O King! If you feel defeated, it is by your own self, by your own feelings and thoughts.” These are the powerful words that stirred Maharana Pratap and freed him of the listlessness and self-pity in which he was wallowing after losing the battle with the Mughals.


The above dialogue translated from the Hindi drama “Bhamashah” reflects the teachings of Jainism. Our feelings and thoughts give rise to passions, also known as kashaya. These passions are four-fold: anger, pride, delusion and greed. When a person is overwhelmed by any of these, then he has no control over himself, his actions, his thoughts and his speech. He is defeated by each of them.


So who is a true victor? This question is perfectly answered in the next words of the play. The monk says to Maharana Pratap and his team including his minister Bhamashah, “He is a victor who has vanqished his inner enemies. Such a person is termed as Arihanta. ‘Ari’ means enemies and ‘hant’ means to destroy. One who has destroyed his inner enemies of anger, pride, greed and delusion becomes an Arihanta – the liberated one.”


Bhamashah mumbai theatre delhi theatre

As the monk explains further, the path of renunciation is not a path of cowardice or weakness. The twenty-four Tirthankaras of Jainism, including Lord Mahavira, were all kshatriyas by birth. They were endowed with valour and courage. They did not succumb to fear or power. The twist lies in understanding that they chose the path of peace over war, non-violence over violence and love over destruction. To choose this path, they had to vanquish the most powerful of all enemies – the inner passions! Instead of choosing to become worldly warriors, they became spiritual warriors of the highest order. Each one of them became an Arihanta.


A play about Bhamashah cannot be complete without Jaina teachings for he was an ardent follower of Jainism. He was the Prime Minister of Mewar in the time of Maharana Pratap. He belonged to the Kavdia gotra of the Oswal Jain community. A warrior and thinker of repute, he was popular for his patriotism and generosity. He believed that charity must be a way of life. After the Battle of Haldighati, when Pratap had lost all his resources and kingdom, Bhamashah gave away his abundant wealth and gold to the king to build his resources and gain back his kingdom. This charitable and patriotic act of Bhamashah made him immortal in the pages of History. Presently, the Bhamashah awards are instituted by Rajasthan Government and bestowed upon those who do notable charitable work.


Chennai Theatre bhamashah-play

What made this play even more special was that it evoked childhood memories. I grew up listening to stories of Shivaji and Pratap in the chill evenings of Guldhar (Near Delhi) and Punjab. Often, my parents would narrate this poignant Rajasthani poem from the life of Pratap. Their inspiring tone and love for History resonates within me even now:
अरे घास री रोटी ही , जद बन बिलावडो ले भाग्यो
नान्हो सो अमरियो चीख पड्यो, राणा रो सोयो दुख जाग्यो
(The meaning is: When the jungle cat snatched away the roti made of grass, and Maharana Pratap’s young son, Amar, cried out loud, the king’s misery increased.)

“Bhamashah” is an inspiring and fabulous play directed by Manoj Shah, scripted by Mihir Bhuta and produced by Dr Bipin Doshi. It was enacted at the Tag Auditorium of Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram in Chennai on July 26, 2015. The stage setting and the performance of the actors was exemplary and soul-stirring. The event was sponsored by Sugal and Damani. Immense thanks to Shri Sugalchand Jain for sending the passes, and to my father, Shri Dulichand Jain, for insisting that I do not miss it.


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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Aruna July 27, 2015 at 4:59 pm

Nicely put! Amidst the noise and chatter of film events, such efforts are a refreshing change! Thanks to Sugal and Damani and may they inspire others to follow suit. Wish our children have more such opportunities…


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