Partap Sharma‘s Sammy! – a play in two acts employs theatrical conventions to recount the story of Mahatma Gandhi‘s inner thoughts and life in a nutshell. Sammy tells the story of Gandhiji‘s life starting from South Africa to his death bringing to life different events in our fight for independence.
The play through its major characters Mohandas and Mahatma explore the conflicts between self and conscience. The technique may not be new but the way the playwright uses it is unique. Whenever Mohan is in a dilemma, the Mahatma appears and advises him to come out of his moral trap.
The play is full of the gems of wisdom taken mostly from Gandhiji‘s writings. The discussion between the Mahatma and Mohan is thought – provoking providing the audience with the stark reality of the historical or the sociopolitical situation.
The play has some touching scenes between Mohan and his wife Kasturba. Through them we learn about his philosophy of ‘Brahmacharya‘ when he talks of his vow of celibacy. Another scene tells the audience of Gandhi‘s line of action against the Government‘s decision requiring Indians to carry permits and how Kasturba was drawn into the movement.
When the scene shifts to India, the play touches upon some of the milestones in the independence struggle. The response of both Mohan and Mahatma to the Champaran agitation, the Dandi March, the massacre in Jalianwala Bagh and the Charkha as a weapon to fight the British are well depicted. Through them, the pros and cons of these movements are discussed.
As we reach towards the end of the play, the role of Jinah, Nehru and Gandhiji on one hand and the Viceroy and his advisors like Glancy on the other is discussed at length. In short the play is a Kaleidoscopic presentation of the freedom movement with Gandhiji‘s philosophy as a backdrop.
None of the characters are black or white. The play expresses each characters‘ point of view as to what happened – Gandhi, Nehru, Sarojini Naidu, Kasturba, Gandhi‘s eldest son, Jinnah and even Nathuram Godse.