Silence! The Court is in Session

by

Vijay Tendulkar

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Balu Rokde Character Analysis

Balu Rodke is a young man who lives with Mr. Kashikar and Mrs. Kashikar. The couple paid for Rokde’s education and serve as a kind of foster family. Rokde is indebted to them, acting as their unpaid servant. Rokde is also one of the lowest status members of the cast, a fact which is well aware; he is frequently ordered around not only by the Kashikars, but by other members of the troop. Before the events of the play, Benare approached Rokde asking him to marry her and to help her raise her unborn child. Rokde refused—out of fear that he’d be publically shamed, and out of fear of Mrs. Kashikar, who controls much of his life and behavior.

Balu Rokde Quotes in Silence! The Court is in Session

The Silence! The Court is in Session quotes below are all either spoken by Balu Rokde or refer to Balu Rokde. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Oxford University Press edition of Silence! The Court is in Session published in 1996.
Act One Quotes

SAMANT. […] I mean to say, I’m not in the habit of walking so fast. You do set a very lively pace, very lively.

BENARE. Not always. But today, how I walked! Let’s leave everyone behind, I thought, and go somewhere far, far away— with you!

SAMANT [in confusion]. With me?

BENARE. Yes, I like you very much.

SAMANT [terribly shy and embarrassed]. Tut-tut. Ha ha! I’m hardly…

BENARE. You're very nice indeed. And shall I tell you something? You are a very pure and good person. I like you.

SAMANT [incredulously]. Me?

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant (speaker), Ponkshe , Balu Rokde
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:

BENARE. But Samant, ‘spreading enlightenment is also one of the Prime Objectives behind our programme’. So our chairman Kashikar will tell you. Kashikar can’t take a step without a Prime Objective! Besides him, there’s Mrs Hand-that- Rocks-the-Cradle. I mean Mrs Kashikar. What an excellent housewife the poor woman is! A real Hand-that-Rocks-the- Cradle type! But what’s the use? Mr Prime Objective is tied up with uplifting the masses. And poor Hand-that-Rocks-the- Cradle has no cradle to rock!

SAMANT. You mean they have no—[He rocks an imaginary baby in his arms.]

BENARE. Right. You seem to be very bright, too! Mr Kashikar and the Hand-that-Rocks-the-Cradle, in order that nothing should happen to either of them in their bare, bare house—and that they shouldn’t die of boredom!—gave shelter to a young boy. They educated him. Made him toil away. Made a slave out of him. His name’s Balu—Balu Rokde. Who else? . . . Well, we have an Expert on the Law. He’s such an authority on the subject, even a desperate client won't go anywhere near him! He just sits alone in the barristers’ room at court, swatting flies with legal precedents! And in his tenement, he sits alone killing houseflies! But for today’s mock trial, he’s a very great barrister. You'll see the wonders he performs! And there’s a‘Hmm! with us! [Puts an imaginary pipe in her mouth.] Hmm! Sci-en-tist! Inter-failed!

SAMANT. Oh, it does sound good fun!

BENARE. And we have an Intellectual too. That means someone who prides himself on his booklearning. But when there’s a real- life problem, away he runs! Hides his head. He’s not here today. Won't be coming, either. He wouldn’t dare!

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant (speaker), Ponkshe , Mr. Kashikar, Mrs. Kashikar, Balu Rokde, Professor Damle
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:

Our feet tread on upon unknown
And dangerous pathways evermore.
Wave after blinded wave is shattered
Stormily upon the shore.
Light glows alive again. Again
It mingles with the dark of night.
Our earthen hands burn out, and then
Again in flames they are alight.
Everything is fully known,
And everything is clear to see.
And the wound that’s born to bleed
Bleeds on for ever, faithfully,
There is a battle sometimes, where
Defeat is destined as the end.
Some experiences are meant
To taste, then just to waste and spend . . .

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant, Sukhatme, Ponkshe , Balu Rokde, Professor Damle
Page Number: 62
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two Quotes

SUKHATME. Why are you so grave all of a sudden? After all, it’s a game. Just a game, that’s all. Why are you so serious?

BENARE [trying to laugh]. Who’s serious? I’m absolutely—light- hearted. I just got a bit serious to create the right atmosphere. For the court, that’s all. Why should I be afraid of a trial like this?

[…]

SUKHATME. Kashikar, you've really picked some charge! A first-class charge! There’s no fun in a case. unless there’s a really thundering charge!

KASHIKAR. Did you notice, also, Sukhatme, that this charge is important from the social point of view? The question of infanticide is one of great social significance. That’s why I deliberately picked it. We consider society's best interests in all we do. Come on, Miss Benare. Rokde, my gavel.

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Sukhatme (speaker), Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Ponkshe , Balu Rokde
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

I think he’s gone there, inside. I'll do it myself. [At a bound, goes and fetches the dictionary. Placing his hand on it] I, Raghunath Bhikaji Samant, do hereby swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. True enough for the trial, I mean. Of course, what’s true for the trial is quite false really. But I'm just taking the oath for practice. [His hand is stall on the dictionary.) You see, I don’t want the sin of falsehood. [In apologetic tones] I'm quite religious . . . The oath’s over. Now. [Enters the witness-box again.] Go on. [This is to Sukhatme; then, to Mrs Kashikar] You see? I'm not frightened. I just get confused because I’m new to all this. [To Sukhatme] Well, you may go on.

Related Characters: Samant (speaker), Benare, Ponkshe , Mr. Kashikar, Balu Rokde, Karnik, Professor Damle
Page Number: 89
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Three Quotes

SUKHATME [Looking at Benare as he puts on his gown ceremoniously]. Milord, in consideration of the grave aspect which the case before us has assumed, it is my humble submission that if your lordship were to wear your gown henceforth, it would appear more decorous.

KASHIKAR. Exactly. Rokde, give me my gown.

[He puts on the black gown that Rokde unpacks and hands to him. After that, his gravity and dignity increase.]

SUKHATME. Mr Samant, Mrs Kashikar, Ponkshe, Karnik, seat yourselves there exactly as you should. [He straightens up, closes his eyes, and meditates for a while. Then, slapping himself piously on the face, he raises his hands to his forehead in prayer twice or thrice.] My father taught me the habit, Kashikar, of praying to our family god at the beginning of any new enterprise. How pure it makes one feel! The mind takes on new strength.

Related Characters: Sukhatme (speaker), Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Benare, Samant, Balu Rokde, Professor Damle
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:
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Balu Rokde Character Timeline in Silence! The Court is in Session

The timeline below shows where the character Balu Rokde appears in Silence! The Court is in Session. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...fellow members of her troop—calling Ms. Kashikar “Mrs. Hand-that-Rocks-the-Cradle” although she has no child, insulting Rokde, whom she says the Kashikars have turned into a slave, and mocking Sukhatme’s unpopular law... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Benare hears Sukhatme, Ponkshe, and Rokde arrive outside, and suggests to Samant that the two of them hide and surprise the... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...and works as a clerk, not a scientist, he looks good in the witness box. Rokde laughs, and Ponkshe turns on him, arguing that at least he, Ponkshe, didn’t rely on... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Rokde likes Benare’s poem and tries to commit it to memory. Excited by an opportunity to... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Mr. Kashikar and Mrs. Kashikar finally enter. Kashikar double checks that Rokde has brought all the baggage because in the past Rokde has forgotten important items. Kashikar... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...courtroom. Karnik points out where “President Johnson” will stand and Samant is amazed and confused. Rokde explains Karnik will play him, and the real Lyndon B. Johnson will not be joining... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Rokde, suddenly remembering, goes to Mrs. Kashikar and informs her Professor Damle hasn’t arrived. Benare becomes... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...of the troop, who plays the fourth witness, has the flu and must be replaced. Rokde begs to play the role but Karnik and Kashikar shoot him down, forcing him to... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...but find a new accused. Karnik reveals he has heard some gossip about Benare from Rokde. Ponkshe says he has some news about her, too. Finally, Sukhatme suggests Benare as prisoner.... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...and Mrs. Kashikar supports him, but Kashikar immediately chastises her for speaking up. Sukhatme suggests Rokde, but although Rokde is enthusiastic Ponkshe shoots him down. Kashikar wants to be the accused... (full context)
Act Two
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Kashikar has Rokde bring him his gavel, to make sure Rokde hasn’t forgotten to pack it. Although Kashikar... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Benare tries to address Rokde, calling him by his first name, Balu, which angers him. Kashikar calls for order arguing... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...witness, announcing him as a “world-famous scientist.” Ponkshe swears upon the Oxford English Dictionary, because Rokde has forgotten the Bhagavad-Geeta. (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Karnik then reveals that although he has not seen Benare in a “compromising situation,” Rokde has. Sukhatme calls Rokde to the witness box. Rokde is resistant, but Mrs. Kashikar promises... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme tries to question Rokde, who remains speechless. Benare provokes him, calling him Balu and laughing, until finally he snaps.... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Requiring prompting, Rokde explains he saw Benare in Damle’s room. He though something was amiss because Damle normally... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme invents a scenario in which, after Rokde saw Benare with Damle, Samant arrived at Damle’s home. Samant pushes back that he wasn’t... (full context)
Act Three
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...the previous acts, usher Benare to the witness box. She will not move. They order Rokde to help, he refuses, and so Mrs. Kashikar pulls Benare to the box where she... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...as he is a family man. Mrs. Kashikar announces that Benare made a pass at Rokde as well. Samant tries to chime in that he was alone with Benare and she... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Rokde takes the stand. Sukhatme refers to him as Mr. Rokde, but Mrs. Kashikar continues to... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Rokde says he slapped Benare after she threatened him and promised to tell someone. Mrs. Kashikar... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...Kashikar’s urging, takes her back to the dock. At Mr. Kashikar and Mrs. Kashikar’s urging Rokde helps guard Benare. Mrs. Kashikar tells Benare “discipline means discipline.” (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...mocked the members of their theatre troop calling Sukhatme’s practice unsuccessful and speculating Kashikar mistreats Rokde because he thinks that Rokde and Mrs. Kashikar are having an affair. Mrs. Kashikar is... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...Ponkshe. He suspects that after failing to convince Ponkshe to marry her, Benare turned to Rokde. Karnik asks to be called to the stand. He reveals that he saw Benare and... (full context)