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Chitra: A Play In One Act
by Rabindranath Tagore
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This lyrical drama was written about twenty-five years ago. It is based on the following story from the Mahab-harata. In the course of his wanderings, in fulfilment of a vow of penance, Arjuna came to Manipur. There he saw Chitrangada, the beautiful daughter of Chitravahana, the king of the country. Smijten with her charms, he asked the king for the hand of his daughter in marriage. Chitravahana asked him who he was, and learning that he was Arjuna the Pandara, told him that Prabhanjana, one of his ancestors in the kingly line of Manipur, had long been childless. In order to obtain an heir, he performed severe penances. Pleased with these austerities, the god Shiva gave him this boon, that he and his successors should each have one child. It so happened that the promised child had invariably been a son. He, Chitravahana, was the first to have only a daughter Chitrangada to perpetuate the race. He. had, therefore, always treated her as a son and had made her his heir. Continuing, the king said: "The one son that will be bom to her must be the perpetuator of my race. That son will be the price that I shall demand for this marriage. You can take her, if you like, on this condition". Arjuna promised and took Chitrangada to wife, and lived in her father's capital for three years. When a son was born to them, he embraced her with aflFeetion, and taking leave of her and her father, set out again on his travels.
About the Author
Sir Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) was an Indian author and guru who drew on the classical literature of India, especially the ancient Sanskrit scriptures and the writings of Kalidasa. He won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913.
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