Silence! The Court is in Session

by

Vijay Tendulkar

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Samant Character Analysis

Raghunath Bhikaji Samant is a local villager who helps the members of the Living Courtroom find the meeting hall and set up. He remains in the room throughout their improvised trial, even serving as a witness and delivering a made-up piece of evidence. Samant often acts as an audience surrogate, allowing other characters to explain the workings of the court or the relationships between each of them. Samant is kind if clueless; early in the play Benare attempts to hit on him and he fails to understand her advances. Samant, unlike many of the other characters, thinks Benare seems kind and competent, and does not judge her for being in her thirties and unmarried, or for having a job and earning her own independent income. Samant is also the only character to show Benare any kindness, defending her in the context of the trial, and leaving her a small gift of a cloth parrot in the play’s final scene.

Samant Quotes in Silence! The Court is in Session

The Silence! The Court is in Session quotes below are all either spoken by Samant or refer to Samant. 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. In school, when the first bell rings, my foot’s already on the threshold. I haven't heard single reproach for not being on time these past eight years. Nor about my teaching. I’m never behindhand with my lessons! Exercises corrected on time, too! Not a bit of room for disapproval—I don’t give an inch of it to any one!

SAMANT. You're a schoolmarm, it seems?

BENARE. No, a teacher! Do I seem the complete schoolmarm to you? SAMANT. No, no… I didn’t mean it like that…

BENARE. Say it if you like...

SAMANT. But I didn’t say it at all! A schoolmarm just means … someone who—teaches—instructs!—children—that’s what I meant to say...

BENARE. They’re so much better than adults. At least they don’t have that blind pride of thinking they know everything. There’s no nonsense stuffed in their heads. They don’t scratch you till you bleed, then run away like cowards.

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant (speaker), Ponkshe
Page Number: 57
Explanation and Analysis:

BENARE. I’m used to standing while teaching. In class, I never sit when teaching. That’s how I keep my eye on the whole class. No one has a chance to play up. My class is scared stiff of me! And they adore me, too. My children will do anything for me. For I'd give the last drop of my blood to teach them. [In a different tone]. That’s why people are jealous. Specially the other teachers and the management. But what can they do to me? What can they do? However hard they try, what can they do? They're holding an enquiry, if you please! But my teaching’s perfect. I’ve put my whole life into it—I’ve worn myself to a shadow in this job! Just because of one bit of slander, what can they do to me? Throw me out? Let them! I haven’t hurt anyone. Anyone at all! If I’ve hurt anybody, it’s been myself. But is that any kind of reason for throwing me out? Who are these people to say what I can or can’t do? My life is my own—I haven’t sold it to anyone for a job! My will is my own. My wishes are my own. No one can kill those—no one! I'll do what I like with myself and my life! I'll decide . . .

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant
Page Number: 58
Explanation and Analysis:

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:

SAMANT. You’re quite right. The great sage Tukaram said… at least I think it was him—

BENARE. Forget about the sage Tukaram. I say it—I, Leela Benare, a living woman, I say it from my own experience. Life is not meant for anyone else. It’s your own life. It must be. It’s a very, very important thing. Every moment, every bit of it is precious—

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant (speaker)
Page Number: 61
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

KASHIKAR. Silence must be observed while the court is in session. Can’t shut up at home, can’t shut up here!

MRS KASHIKAR. But I was just telling Samant here—

SUKHATME. Let it pass, Mrs Kashikar. He’s just joking.

MRS KASHIKAR. So what? Scolding me at every step!

Related Characters: Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Mrs. Kashikar (speaker), Samant
Page Number: 76
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:

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:

The parrot to the sparrow said,
‘Why, oh why, are your eyes so red?’
‘Oh, my dear friend, what shall I say?
Someone has stolen my nest away.’
Sparrow, sparrow, poor little sparrow . . .
‘Oh, brother crow, oh, brother crow,
Were you there? Did you see it go?’
‘No, I don’t know. I didn’t see.
What are your troubles to do with me?’
O sparrow, sparrow, poor little sparrow . . .
Act Three

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Samant
Related Symbols: Sparrows
Page Number: 121
Explanation and Analysis:
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Samant Character Timeline in Silence! The Court is in Session

The timeline below shows where the character Samant appears in Silence! The Court is in Session. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Samant and Benare unlock and enter an empty meeting hall. Samant carries a lock and key,... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Samant had picked up Benare and the rest of her troop from the train station, but... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Samant moves the conversation to a magic show he saw in the meeting hall. As Samant... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Samant still wants to talk about the magician, but Benare has moved on. She is a... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Samant asks if Benare is a schoolmarm but she corrects him, preferring to call herself a... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Benare’s mood brightens again and she begins to wander around the room. Samant suggests she sit down, but Benare explains that when she’s teaching she never sits down.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
...places her hand on her stomach as she delivers her monologue. As she trails off, Samant stands awkward and embarrassed. He offers to go find the rest of the troop but... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Samant asks Benare is she is feeling well. She says she is, and sings a song... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Benare wonders if Samant understands the event happening that evening. He knows it has “something to do with the... (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 others. Benare and Samant hide behind... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Samant begins to quote Tukaram, a great sage, but Benare cuts him off, explaining that she,... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Benare changes the conversation and asks Samant (whose name she has forgotten) to start setting up chairs. Samant, who has set up... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...consider the organization of the 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.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...him down, forcing him to stick to his current minor role as usher. Sukhatme suggests Samant, who has no acting experience. Mrs. Kashikar asks what Benare thinks of Samant, and she... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Sukhatme asks Samant his name, and promises that, although the local has never even seen a court or... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
...seven times already. Sukhatme suggests creating a new, imaginary case to pass time and teach Samant about the court. Karnik says this is called “a Visual Enactment,” but Sukhatme doesn’t understand... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Ponkshe and Mrs. Kashikar send Samant to get cigarettes and pan. Benare leaves to room to wash her face and freshen... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...assemble the wooden bars of a dock around Benare. Sukhatme enters in his lawyer’s robes. Samant has returned but only watches. Kashikar announces that they are accusing Benare of infanticide. (full context)
Act Two
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Samant has arrived with pan and cigarettes. He hands them out. Sukhatme tries to offer some... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Hearing Benare laugh, Samant wonders if he’s missed a joke and Karnik explains Benare has been charged with infanticide.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Mrs. Kashikar makes and aside to Samant that the argument about pan is “just in fun,” and a demonstration of how in... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...by his first name, Balu, which angers him. Kashikar calls for order arguing that for Samant’s sake “the dignity of the court must be preserved.” Benare asks if she can be... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...adds himself that “woman is a wife for a moment but a mother for ever.” Samant applauds, overwhelmed by the sequence, and Mrs. Kashikar reminds him not to applaud that evening. (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...Benare interrupts that she has a close relationship with every man in the room, excepting Samant. Ponkshe complains no one is serious and wonders if there is any point in continuing... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...how he went to Professor Damle’s house one evening and saw Benare there. Benare stiffens. Samant asks if this is true, or just for the trial, but no one answers him.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Benare adds she and Samant were recently alone together, but Samant clarifies that she behaved “in a most exemplary manner.”... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme calls Samant to the witness box. Samant is confused but game, and takes the oath “for practice,”... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme beings to question Samant. Samant thinks Benare is a “very nice lady,” although Sukhatme argues that his opinion is... (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.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Samant continues, reporting Benare called Damle “heartless,” and Damle responded, “nature is heartless.” Benare had told... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Samant agrees that he is lying. He explains he’s pulling his story from a novel. Benare... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Benare becomes more frantic and begins to cry. She runs to the wings. Samant sympathetically wonders what happened, while the rest of the cast becomes suddenly excited. Kashikar comments... (full context)
Act Three
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...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 acted appropriately, but... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
...Courtroom has begun. The people of the court shake themselves and “return … to normal.” Samant tells the villagers the show will begin soon. The men discuss how late it is,... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Benare and Samant are remain onstage. Samant goes to collect the cloth parrot he brought with him. He... (full context)