(Last Updated on : 22/07/2009)
Kirpa Sagar was a prominent figure in Punjabi historical drama. Before embarking upon this genre, he authored a long narrative poem, Lakshmi Devi, which became immensely popular. Couched in resonant diction and natural description, it evoked feelings of heroism, patriotism, and reverence for personages of nineteenth-century Punjab. For Kirpa Sagar the greatest of them was Maharaja Ranjit Singh, under whose rule Punjab for the first time became a sovereign entity. He looked upon Ranjit Singh as a national monarch with a glorious career. The three historical plays he composed drew their subject matter from Ranjit Singh's campaigns and conquests.
In Maharaja Ranjit Singh, he dramatized the reign till the annexation of Kasur. Occurrences and their agents figure as recorded in historical documents. Since he organized the play as a chronicle with many scenes, he amply employed coincidences to forge them together. But several scenes of village and domestic life contribute hardly anything to the plot, at the most providing relief from the schematic exchanges of historical figures. The five-act sequel in 1928 extended the dramatization to the campaign in Kangra and retained the same compositional principle. However, instead of advancing the story of the conquest, the incidents reflected the monarch's qualities.
In Dido Jamwal in 1934, the author finally aspired for literary unity. This time the subject related to the invasion of Jammu, which happened to be his native region. The imperialistic army meets with heroic resistance from a local vagabond eulogized by the people as their popular saviour, and who gives his name to the play. As a result, Dido Jamwalhas a dramatic momentum that leaves no time for comic relief or vicarious pleasure. It was the acme of Kirpa Sagar's career. Kirpa Sagar died in 1939.
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