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The Post Office

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Dak-ghar

(1912)


Translated from Bengali to English by Devabrata Mukherjee.


DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

MADHAV
AMAL, his adopted child
SUDHA, a little flower girl
THE DOCTOR
DAIRYMAN
WATCHMAN
GAFFER
VILLAGE HEADMAN, a bully
KING'S HERALD
ROYAL PHYSICIAN


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Tagore's The Post Office : A profile

A gentle and moving play, "The Post Office" tells us the story of a young boy, Amal. The play is set in the early 20th century rural Bengal. It is the poignant story of a childless man who has adopted Amal, who has been claimed by an incurable illness. The boy, innocent of what the loss of life means, is caught in the flurry of life outside the window of his room where he is confined. He touches the lives of people passing outside the window. With the world at his doorstep, Amal is happy in the fertile world of imagination, and is willing, when the time comes, to journey from this world to the next. A bedridden child, Amal yearns for the outside world. His doctor would shut out the world for him if he could. Consequently, he is elated at the news of a postoffice coming up in the neighbourhood. Would the King send a letter to him, he wonders, or, could he not become the King's postman and carry messages to the end of the world? The adults that he comes into contact with whet his appetite for the world at large and trigger his imagination. At the end of the play, we find Amal falling asleep, and Shudha--the little girl who promised to bring flowers for him--comes back to hm and says to the Royal Physician, "Tell him, 'Sudha has not forgotten you' " Tagore himself explaines the intended meaning of the play to his friend C.F. Andrews in this way : Amal represents the man whose soul has received the call of the open road. But there is the post office in front of his little window, and Amal waits for the King's letter to come to him direct from the King's own physician and that which is death to the world of hoarded wealth and certified creeds brings him awakening in the world of spiritual freedom. The only thing that accompanies him in his awakening is the flower of love given to him by Shudha.

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