Silence! The Court is in Session


Vijay Tendulkar

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Professor Damle Character Analysis

A member of the Living Courtroom in his spare time and an academic professionally. Damle has a wife and five children, however he nonetheless began an affair with Benare that has resulted in her pregnancy. Benare later complains that, although he is an intellectual, Damle was only ever interested in her body and not her mind. When she revealed her pregnancy to him he refused to help her, concerned only with preserving his own family and future. Damle is not in attendance on the day of the trial, likely to avoid an additional confrontation with Benare.

Professor Damle Quotes in Silence! The Court is in Session

The Silence! The Court is in Session quotes below are all either spoken by Professor Damle or refer to Professor Damle. 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

Oh I’ve got a sweetheart
Who carries all my books,
He plays in my doll house,
And says he likes my looks.
I’ll tell you a secret—
He wants to marry me.
But Mummy says, I’m too little
To have such thoughts as these.

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant, Professor Damle, Benare’s Uncle
Page Number: 58
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

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:

It’s all become quite unexpectedly enjoyable—the whole fabric of society is being soiled these days, Sukhatme. Nothing is undefiled anymore.

Related Characters: Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Benare, Samant, Sukhatme, Ponkshe , Professor Damle
Page Number: 94
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:

Life is a book that goes ripping into pieces. Life is a poisonous snake that bites itself. Life is a betrayal. Life is a fraud. Life is a drug. Life is drudgery. Life is a something that’s nothing—or a nothing that’s something. […] Sack it from its job! But why? Why? Was I slack in my work? I just put my whole life into working with the children . . . I loved it! I taught them well! I knew that your own flesh and blood don’t want to understand you. Only one thing in life is all-important—the body! You may deny it, but it is true. Emotion is something people talk about with sentiment. It was obvious to me. I was living through it. It was burning through me. But—do you know?—I did not teach any of this to those tender, young souls. I swallowed that poison, but didn’t even let a drop of it touch them! I taught them beauty. I taught them purity. I cried inside, and I made them laugh. I was cracking up with despair, and I taught them hope. For what sin are they robbing me of my job, my only comfort? My private life is my own business. I'll decide what to do with myself; everyone should be able to! That can’t be anyone else's business; understand?

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Mr. Kashikar, Professor Damle, Benare’s Uncle
Page Number: 116-117
Explanation and Analysis:

It’s true, I did commit a sin. I was in love with my mother’s brother. But in our strict house, in the prime of my unfolding youth, he was the one who came close to me. He praised my bloom every day. He gave me love…. How was I to know that if you felt like breaking yourself into bits and melting into one with someone—if you felt that just being with him gave a whole meaning to life—and if he was your uncle, it was a sin! Why, I was hardly fourteen! I didn’t even know what sin was—I swear by my mother, I didn’t! […] Again, I fell in love. As a grown woman. I threw all my heart into it; I thought, this will be different. This love is intelligent. It is love for an unusual intellect. It isn’t love at all—it’s worship! But it was the same mistake. I offered up my body on the altar of my worship. And my intellectual god took the offering—and went his way. He didn’t want my mind, or my devotion—he didn’t care about them! [Feebly.] He wasn’t a god. He was a man. For whom everything was of the body, for the body! That’s all! Again, the body! [Screaming.] This body is a traitor! [She is writhing with pain.] I despise this body—and I love it! I hate it—but—it’s all you have, in the end, isn’t it? It will be there. It will be yours. […] And now it carries within it the witness of that time—a tender little bud—of what will be a lisping, laughing, dancing little life—my son—my whole existence! I want my body now for him—for him alone.

Page Number: 117-118
Explanation and Analysis:
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Professor Damle Character Timeline in Silence! The Court is in Session

The timeline below shows where the character Professor Damle 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
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Rokde, suddenly remembering, goes to Mrs. Kashikar and informs her Professor Damle hasn’t arrived. Benare becomes silent, then goes to talk to Ponkshe who refuses to engage... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Mr. Kashikar and Mrs. Kashikar, Sukhatme, and Karnik discuss Damle. Kashikar is worried but Sukhatme insists he’ll be able to figure out a way to... (full context)
Act Two
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...him Balu and laughing, until finally he snaps. He tells how he went to Professor Damle’s house one evening and saw Benare there. Benare stiffens. Samant asks if this is true,... (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 invited him in but didn’t that... (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 there and had never... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Samant recounts arriving at Damle’s room and finding the door locked. He knocked and Damle answered. Samant could hear a... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Samant continues, reporting Benare called Damle “heartless,” and Damle responded, “nature is heartless.” Benare had told him that if he left... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...although Samant was reciting from a book, he’s stumbled on some truth—that Benare and Professor Damle were romantically or sexually involved.  Benare reenters. She collects up her bag and purse and... (full context)
Act Three
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Kashikar tries another strategy, wondering why Benare needed Damle to walk her home after performances. Sukhatme wonders if Damle was just doing her a... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...wanted her body. In the courtroom, Ponkshe slips and reveals the child’s father was Professor Damle. He says he swore not to say the name, but Sukhatme absolves him, arguing it’s... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...playing both the prosecution and the defense, becomes suddenly tired and overwhelmed. He calls Professor Damle as witness, then Nanasaheb Shinde, then Mr. Rawte, who are all absent. Sukhatme then asks... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...again. She assumed it would be different than when she loved her uncle. She loved Damle for his intelligence, but he was only interested in her body. She believes “the body... (full context)