Play: Einstein, 1994
Written and Directed by: Mohan Maharishi.
‘Einstein’ (Hindi), written and directed by Mohan Maharishi and produced by the National School of Drama Repertory Company, was first performed on November 25, 1994.
The play uses a non-linear mode of storytelling by simultaneously presenting three Einsteins — Einstein as a child (Harvinder Kaur), young Einstein (Yashpal Sharma) and the adult Einstein (Zakir Hussain). The three Einsteins are triangularly choreographed, mirroring each other, and through their interaction, the many different selves of the scientist unfold.
The first act of this tripartite play presents Copernicus and Galileo, highlighting their challenges against theological domination and the transition to Newton and Einstein’s theories. The second act narrates the life and works of Einstein and his complex and passionate search for order in chaos. The third and final act considers (the then) contemporary scientists like Neil Bohr and Werner Heisnberg concluding with ongoing debates in the understanding of human knowledge among scientists.
Seen in the context of growth in global research and development platforms post 1991 when Dr. Manmohan Singh set a new agenda by announcing the New Industrial Policy, ‘Einstein’ can be understood as a reflection of the imperatives of scientific progress in the context of development. In his iconic speech on July 24, 1991 Dr. Singh said “After four decades of planning for industrialization, we have now reached a stage of development where we should welcome, rather than fear, foreign investment…Direct foreign investment would provide access to capital, technology, and markets” (Budget 1991-92 Speech of Shri Manmohan Singh, Minister of Finance, 24th July, 1991). The impact of the policy shift soon became evident, particularly in the Information Technology (IT) industry and IT-enabled Services (ITeS) sectors in India. According to a report, the IT and ITeS industry, initially valued at a modest $100 million in 1990, underwent a remarkable transformation, surging to an impressive $1 billion by 1996 (Kris Gopalakrishnan, “Indian IT and ITeS Journey: Liberalization and Beyond,” LiveMint, 16 April 2016).
Maharishi, in his notes on the production, explains “The logical structure which acted as the basis of these theories (technological developments), pre-supposed a sharp distinction between objective and subjective reality with regard to the progress. The events in the outside world follow a strictly causal development and the space/time in which these events occur is absolute, which means, if at any given time we have complete knowledge of the state of an object, its future development can be charted with mathematical certainty” (Einstein brochure, emphasis added).Play- Einstein, 1994
Source- NSD Brochure, ‘Einstein’, 1994, Anand Gupt Collection/Alkazi Theatre Archives