(Last Updated on : 22-08-2019)
Nil Darpan or The Mirror of Indigo; translated as Nil Darpan; or, The Indigo Planting Mirror is one of the famous Bengali plays
written by one of the admired theatre personalities of West Bengal
named Dinabandhu Mitra
in 1858-1859. The play was essential to Nil Bidroho, or Indigo revolt of February-March 1859 in Bengal, when farmers declined to sow indigo in their fields as a protest against unequal farming under the British rule in India. It was also vital to the development of Bengali theatre
and to influence Girish Ghosh
, who, in 1872, would set up The National Theatre in Kolkata
where the first ever play commercially staged was Nil Darpan.
Critical Summary of Nil Darpan
This play was a popular piece, which was well-known and admired by the people, and received tremendous reactions from people around the world. Reverend James Long translated this play, for which he was sentenced to prison and charged with sedition.
This play was written to raise a voice among the elite class of people in Kolkata, against the British rule. Nilbidraha, unlike the Sepoy Mutiny 1857
, is effectively a revolt integrating entire Bengali population with no distance kept between the different classes of society, which can be attributed to the endeavour by Mitra and Rev. James Long and Michael Madhusudan Dutt.
has rich tradition of writing drama. Almost for a millennium the only form of literature other than odes was drama. The division of the genre of Sanskrit theatre by the stalwarts like Kalidasa
was sturdy enough to keep the millions of theatre enthusiasts absorbed for years to come. But it was coming at a dawn by the mid 1800 in Bengal where the Bengal Renaissance
saw the rise in western education and ideas, and therefore the styles of new forms of literature were coming in. For example Ram Narayan Tarkaratna (1823-1885) left the Sanskrit tradition and started writing about realisms of society. The drama or theatre is starkly diverse from the former dramas or plays of that era, notably the first modern drama written in Bengali by Ram Narayan still had the sadhu bhasa, the artificial Sanskrit dialect of modern Bengali as the writing medium.
Characters of Nil Darpan
The characters in the drama are the villagers and the indigo planters who got the money and the law in their hand.
Goluk Chunder Basu: a rich man
Nobin Madhab: son of Goluk Chunder Basu
Bindu Madhab: son of Goluk Chunder Basu
Sadhu Churn: a neighbouring Ryot
Ray Churn: Sadhu'a brother
Gopi Nath: The Dewan
Torap: A heroic figure
J. J. Wood
P. P. Rose J
The Ajviin or Land Measurer
Amin khalasi: a tent-pitcher.
Taidgir Native: Superintendent of Indigo Cultivation.
Sabitri: Wife of Goluk Chunder
Soirindri: Wife of Nobin.
Saralota: Wife of Bindu Madhab.
Reboti: Wife of Sadhu Churn
Khetromani: Daughter of Sadhu and Reboti.
Aduri: Maid-servant in Goluk Chunder's house
Podi Moyrani: A Sweetmeat Maker
Legacy of Nil Darpan
The rich legacy of dark humour in plays is very well shared by the then dramatists like Madhusudan Dutt
and Girish Chandra Ghosh. It was also essential in the development of Bengali colloquial dialect that is free from any influence of Sanskrit language