The fossilized, walled-in civilization is a recurring phenomenon in the history of mankind. Tagore penned his seminal play Achalayatan (The Static Institution) in 1912 giving it an India orientation. The play is a satire on a society that stagnates by holding on to rituals, but when rituals are an end in themselves, it is a sign of bondage, for it dries up the vital sap of human life. The moral implication of the theme is archetypal in character, but Tagore draws a powerful picture of social, intellectual and spiritual stagnation. The first small voice of protest is raised by the young novice Panchak who reflects the yearning for freedom from the blind obedience to unnecessary injunctions. How his murmur of dissent snowballs into uproar and how the final arrival of the uppermost authority breaks down the autocracy of meaningless ritualism of the closed hierarchy, is the rest of the story.
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