Riddle Plays: Rabindranath Tagore’s (Originally Written as Hasya Kautuk In Bengali)

Riddle Plays: Rabindranath Tagore’s (Originally Written as Hasya Kautuk In Bengali)

  • $28.00
    Unit price per 
Tax included. Shipping calculated at checkout.

Book Specification

Item Code: IHF044
Author: Nilanjana Basu Kaul
Publisher: Cedar Books and Pustak Mahal
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788122311020
Pages: 158 (12 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.8”X 5.3”
Weight 190 gm

Book Description

Back of Book

Innocent laughter is rarely seen these days. From very early age, children today are made to carry heavily loaded bags to school. At times, those bags weigh more than their own body weight. Their lives principally rotate round the many C’s, Career computer, and Competition, to name a few. The number of hours and minutes available to them are strictly divided for each pursuit, lest even a second is wasted! There is just no time for them to read a book, unless it is a textbook. Just no time to look out of the window just like that, doing nothing!

Being non-critical about the existing system where is the scope, space or time, for that matter, for moulding the young intellect with the care it deserves? That is a critical question is ours.

Tagore (1861-1941) always believed in development of superior intellect in complete harmony with time, system and context. Hasya Kautuk (1907), particularly written with this objective, is one of the masterpieces among his numerous brilliant creations. Comprised of short plays, this book is a discovery of adolescent intellect through humour.

Inspired by her mother Nilanjana has always been extremely fond of Tagore in all his literary forms songs, prose, poems, dance, drama- just anything. That was and still is her favourite pursuit.

born in Calcutta she holds a post Graduate degree in international relations from Jadavpur University and is a UGC certified instructor-translator-interpreter in Russian language for quite a long time now. Permanently settled in Delhi, Nilanjana had till date visited Russia and Egypt for various academic purposes, and has also translated important academic material in Russian language.

She is deeply associated with the Ramakrishna math & Ramakrishna mision.


A tree cannot develop normally if it does not get enough sunlight Likewise, a human mind cannot attain health without fun and humour in life.

It is strange indeed that one is to be specially advised to engage into pure fun and find humour in life and it is precisely so in our country. We do not know to mingle our heart and soul in good laugh and humour. Looks like that we lack in liveliness, openness, and spontaneity even in plain enjoyment. Game of cards, dice, a game of chess, criticising the world –none of these enjoyment enrich our body and soul. These exercises essentially promote laziness, senility, and cloistered preference. We age normally with time by workload, under various practical compulsions, and pressing anxieties. No special ceremony is needed in the natural process of physical aging.

Therefore, when we deliberately indulge in these retarding pursuits during time of simple relaxation, in a way, we throttle the young spirit inside our into premature death. Your induces us to imbibe new ideas modern knowledge with interest, and to step along the modern beats of changing times. Youth inspires to try newer routes, and expands the horizons of mind and its ways …youth rescues from inaction, dwindling over a smoke with an ‘I know-it-all’ approach. Horizons of heart cannot widen an inch further once the youth inside it dehydrates. As a dehydrated heart fails to absorb novelties, it loves to recluse in inaction like frogs in winter. Withdrawn in a self-devised shell of conservative arrogance, any individual heart boasts to imagine that it is very wise and important. Naturally then we laugh at others initiatives.

Plain fun and gaiety more than not are invariably considered as childish pursuit by wise and busy men. We tend to forget that any person, who works only knows how to enjoy life. Those who do not work do not engage in fun either. Englishmen cannot sit idle; fun and humour are inseparable issues in their lives. They are like senior people in knowledge and wisdom, full of youthful energy while at work. Just like children while playing a game. If a game is not played with child-like exuberance, no work can be a accomplished with youthful passion and energy. When a job is not performed with youthful passion and energy, the experience gathered from it no way evolved into wisdom. Grains grow in fields only; no way do they develops further in warehouses. Similarly, wisdom develops on-job. Wisdom can never be gained out of any so-called wise sermons emanating out of the fumes of an expensive cigar held between the fingers by a non-active instructor. A matured human being must pass through stages o healthy childhood exuberant youth and years of laborious experience to be one. If one’s priority is to gain maturity only personality disorder is the invariable result. In case it is solely child-like impulsiveness, there can be no progress. If we, Bengalis, wish to become a great race, we must play, we must work with never ending enthusiasm, and think with utmost profundity.

Englishmen play a game called ‘Charade’, in Bengali we named it He (n) yali-Natya or Riddle plays. Let me explain the crus of it. Two of three persons in a friendly conspiracy decide upon a single word, which can be divided into two or three independent and meaningful words. Suppose, ‘insane’. When divided into two parts (‘in’ and sane) each word has a meaning. Then an instant drama is composed appropriately to connote the whole words insane. The spectators guess the core word insane on which the drama is based; others, they lose the game.

We offer an example of riddle plays. Five or four persons will enact these riddle plays and the rest are to find out the implied core word in each.

These brief comedies were published in ‘Balak’ and ‘Bharati’ journals as Riddle plays. These are written in rough compliance with European Charade from. To preserve the aspect of riddle in them, the plays were to be composed in brief. I hope that the current readers will not take unnecessary trouble to look for the riddles in them. Some of these riddle-plays are especially devoted to entertain young minds.


Exam Time for student 13
Pain & Gain 21
Reception 31
Treatment 39
Contemplative 49
Essence & Absence 57
Friend of the Patient 65
Trouble in Fame 73
Aryan & Non-Aryan 87
Joint Family 99
Minute consideration 109
Hazards of living in mess 119
Last Rites 133
Witty 143
Sermon 151

We Also Recommend