(Last Updated on : 07-06-2010)
Drama in Post-Independence Assamese Literature also displays the same social analysis and structural experimentation that is seen in prose and poetry of the time. However, the publication history of drama is still not as strong as that of poetry and prose. Most dramas appear in journals or remain unpublished, though they have been performed. The influence of drama of the Western world on Assamese Drama in the post independence period is very apparent. The prominent influence regarding drama's message has been that of Ibsen, Chekov, and Shaw, and regarding drama's form it has been Beckett, Lonesco, and Brecht, among others. In fact, translations of Western plays are an important aspect of modern Assamese drama. Apart from translations of Shakespearean drama, we find a number of translations of Ibsen's plays. These include Suresh Goswami's Runumi (1946, from Ibsen's The Vikings of Helgeland), Padma Borkakoti's Putola Ghor (1959, from A Doll's House), Satyaprasad Barua's Banahansi (1962, from The Wild Duck), and Mahendra Borah's Bhoot (1965, from Ghosts).
One important form that has developed in the post independence era in Assamese drama is the one-act play. The formation of the Asom Natya Sanmilan (Assam Dramatic Society) in 1959 and its regular one-act play competition have helped in the development of this form. Some notable one-act plays are Durgeswar Borthakur's Nirodesh, Satyaprasad Barua's Anarkali, Kunaal-Kanchan, Ranadil, Saswati, and Bhaswati, Prabin Phookan's Tritaranga, Bhabendranath Saikia's Putola-Nas, Tafajjul Ali's Nepati Kenekoi Thako and Bhupen Hazarika's Era Bator Sur. The subjects of this drama range from the historical to certain contemporary themes and issues.
The influence of the absurd and the symbolic play is not as widespread in Assam, though we find a few notable examples. Arun Sharma's Shri Nibaron Bhattacharya (1967) and Ahar and Basanta Saikia's Manoh and Asur are absurd in the manner of Ionesco and Beckett. But the better-known plays of this generation combine elements of modern drama the world over to propagate socially relevant messages, a characteristic of contemporary Assamese poetry and prose, too. Himendrakumar Borthakur's Bagh (The Tiger, 1971) dramatizes political manipulation of the naive, trusting rural population and general political corruption. Satyaprasad Barua's Nayika Natyakar (1976) and Mrinal Mahi (1977) are both plays that show the psychological complications of social problems. A significant number of modern plays also revive traditional folk and classical forms. As with the rest of India, Assam, too, has seen a revival of ancient genres such as bhavna and yatra, a revival that has allowed these forms to be applied to modern subjects. Mitradev Mahanta's Prassanna Pandav (1956), Jugal Das's Bayonor Khel (1982), Anandamohan Bhagavati's Jatugriha, Satish Bhattacharya's Maharaja, and Munin Bhuyan's Hati aru Phandi are some such dramas.