Silence! The Court is in Session

Silence! The Court is in Session Study Guide

Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Vijay Tendulkar's Silence! The Court is in Session. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.

Brief Biography of Vijay Tendulkar

Vijay Tendulkar was born in Kolhapu, Maharashtra, a city in southwest India roughly two hundred miles south of Mumbai. Tendulkar dropped out of school at age 14 to participate in the movement for Indian independence. Although no longer in school, Tendulkar still enjoyed reading and writing. He began working for newspapers, often taking the role of social critic who wrote in defense of the oppressed and marginalized. He also wrote plays, and although his first two were subject to little public attention, his third play, Srimant, proved more popular if also more controversial. He continued to write dozens of plays, one-acts, and screenplays throughout his life, as well as translations, journalism, short stories, literary essays, and novels.
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Historical Context of Silence! The Court is in Session

Silence! the Court is in Session takes place in post-Independence India. India was part of the British Empire until 1947, at which point it became an independent nation, although it still belonged to the greater British Commonwealth. In 1950, the ratification of a constitution allowed India to become its own democratic country. Indian feminism took a different path than American feminism. Women mobilized for the Indian freedom movement under British rule, but after independence in 1947 women’s rights often took a backseat to questions regarding the future of the independent nation. After independence, activists focused on a woman’s right to work outside of the home, an issue brought to light in Silence! and a source of many of the characters’ resentment of Benare, a working woman. 

Other Books Related to Silence! The Court is in Session

Silence! the Court is in Session is based on the 1956 Swiss novel Die Panne, known as A Dangerous Game in English. Other courtroom dramas include Twelve Angry Men, whose teleplay predated both Silence! and A Dangerous Game, as well as 1989’s A Few Good Men. A later play that involves a blurring of the line between real life, drama, and history include We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, From the German Südwestafrika, Between the Years 1884–1915.
Key Facts about Silence! The Court is in Session
  • Full Title: Silence! the Court is in Session
  • When Written: 1963
  • Where Written: Mumbai
  • When Published: 1967
  • Literary Period: Modern Drama
  • Genre: Drama
  • Setting: A community center in a village in India
  • Climax: The discovery that Benare and Damle did have an affair
  • Antagonist: Every character except for Benare and Samant

Extra Credit for Silence! The Court is in Session

Translation. Silence! was originally published in Marathi, Tendulkar’s native language, and one of India’s 23 official languages.

Long Legacy. Tendulkar’s 1972 play Ghashiram Kotwal (or Ghashiram the Constable) is one of the longest running plays in the world and has been performed more 6,000 times around the globe.