Major Themes in Partap Sharma‘s Sammy!

1. India’s Freedom Struggle

The play is a Kaleidoscopic presentation of the freedom struggle. It highlights the several milestones in the independence struggle. We are shown the discussion of Mohan and Mahatma on the various events that take place like the Champaran agitation, the Salt Satyagraha, the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre, the Chourichura incident, the various pacts by the Viceroys like Irwin, Rowlatt etc. and the counter action by Gandhi. The partition sickened the Mahatma making him feel that the entire fight for freedom had been for naught.

2. The Struggle in South Africa

The plays begin with the famous incident in the train where Gandhi suffered racial discrimination and was thrown out of the first class compartment. The first Act very elaborately shows Gandhi‘s rise and development of his nonviolent philosophy through his interaction with Dada Abdullah, Aenoch Aasvogel and his fight for the Indian workers in South Africa. This particular period of Gandhi‘s life transformed the young Mohan from a naive tongue tied lawyer into a shrewd politician and finally a Mahatma.

3. Gandhiji’s Philosophy

The basic premise of the play is to give audience the deeper insight into Gandhiji‘s philosophy of non – violence and Satyagraha. Each event in the play, the lively debate between Mohan and Mahatma probes into Gandhi‘s philosophy. His interaction with Kasturba and Polak explores the idea of Brahmacharya. His face off with the British officials shown us how Gandhiji‘s philosophy transformed them by touching their lives. In South Africa, Gandhi fought domination by whites by implementing non – violent methods of Resistance. As he struggled with racism, he turned inward trying to understand what a moral response would be. This internal dialogue is portrayed in the play, and the same moral compass dictated all his actions as the head of the Congress Party in India.

4. The Title Sammy!

Sammy was a derogatory term used by South Africans to refer to Indians, since many Indian names ended with ‘swamy‘. In the first part of the play, Gandhi is confronted by an angry mob in Durban that used the word. He smiles back hoping that he will one day be able to live up to its true meaning that is ‘Lord‘ or master.

5. The Weapon, Satyagraha

The play realistically depicts how Satyagraha was an application or an offshoot of Gandhi‘s philosophy. He started it as a way of registering a silent protest representing a united front of a united people‘s unequivocal opinion against something they found unacceptable by doing nothing, by laying down tools or just stopping participation in the process of active life for a certain time to show solidarity.

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