Ancient Indian and Indo-Greek Theatre
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In the year 326 B.C. a play "Agen" was staged in the military camp of Alexander the Great on the bank of river Jhelum in Upper Punjab. A fragment of a vase, with the painting depicting a scene from the play "Antigone", was found near Peshawar. As amphitheatre which betrays Greco-Roman influence was excavated at Nagarjunakonda in Andhra Pradesh. A papyrus manuscript of a farce written in Greek and Kannada languages was found in Egypt in the year 1899 by the team of archaeologists deployed by the Biblical Archaeological Association. Early Greek records speak of export of flute girls and singing boys to India. A Sanskrit farce of Gupta period mentions a Yavana Ganika Karpoorturishtha settled in Ujjayani in central India. Striking similarities are found in the theoies of Aristotle and Bharata about the origin and nature of Dramatic arts. In this book M.L. Varadpande, a distinguished scholar and theatre histoian, analyses the data to explore the probable relationship between theatrical arts of ancient India and Greece. He starts this fascinating study by giving historical account of early Indian theatre. He studies dancing figures on the walls of Mesolithic cave shelters of Bhimbetka, musical instruments and figurines of dancers and jesters excavated at the sites connected with ancient Indus valley civilization and Vedic rituals, dialogue hymns. Here is a brilliant work which focuses attention on the unexplored areas of Indian theatrical tradition and speaks about the contact between theatrical arts of two great ancient civilizations of the world.