IBNA- ‘Shakuntala’ or ‘Abhijnanashakuntala’ an ancient Sanskrit Indian play by Kalidasa that is generally considered to be the greatest Indian literary work of any period has been translated into Persian and published.
Composed about the 5th century CE, the book is the most known work of an Indian literati in the world. ‘Shakuntala’ has been translated into Persian by Ali-Reza Esmaeilpour. Mahi Publishing in Tehran has released the play in 288 pages.
Taken from legend, the work tells of the seduction of the nymph Shakuntala by King Dushyanta, his rejection of the girl and his child, and their subsequent reunion in heaven.
The child that is born is Bharata, the eponymous ancestor of the Indian nation (Bharatavarsha, “Subcontinent of Bharata”). Kalidasa remakes the story into a love idyll whose characters represent a pristine aristocratic ideal: the girl, sentimental, selfless, alive to little but the delicacies of nature, and the king, first servant of the dharma (religious and social law and duties), protector of the social order, resolute hero, yet tender and suffering agonies over his lost love.
The plot and characters are made believable by a change Kalidasa introduces: Dushyanta is not responsible for the lovers’ separation; he acts only under a delusion caused by a sage’s curse. As in all of Kalidasa’s works, the beauty of nature is depicted with an inimitable elegance of metaphor.
Shakuntala was the first Indian drama to be translated into a Western language, by Sir William Jones in 1789. In the next 100 years, there were at least 46 translations in twelve European languages.
Kalidasa’s plays and poetry are primarily based on the Vedas, the Rāmāyaṇa, the Mahābhārata and the Purāṇas. His surviving works consist of three plays, two epic poems and two shorter poems.
Much about his life is unknown except what can be inferred from his poetry and plays. His works cannot be dated with precision, but they were most likely authored before the 5th century CE.