Silence! The Court is in Session

by

Vijay Tendulkar

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Sukhatme Character Analysis

A central member of the Living Courtroom, in which he typically plays the lawyer for the prosecution. However, since both Damle and Rawte are absent on this particular day, he also acts as the lawyer for the defense. Sukhatme also works as a lawyer outside of the troop, although his practice is not successful. He enjoys having power in the fictional Living Courtroom, which he does not have in life.

Sukhatme Quotes in Silence! The Court is in Session

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

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:

SUKHATME. Motherhood is pure. Moreover, there is a great—er —a great nobility in our concept of motherhood. We have acknowledged woman as the mother of mankind. Our culture enjoins us to perpetual worship of her. ‘Be thy mother as a god’ is what we teach our children from infancy. There is great responsibility devolving upon a mother. She weaves a magic circle with her whole existence in order to protect and preserve her little one—

KASHIKAR. You've forgotten one thing. There’s a Sanskrit proverb, Janani janmabhumischa svargadapi gariyasi.

‘Mother and
The Motherland,
Both are even
Higher than heaven.’

MRS KASHIKAR [with enthusiasm]. And of course, ‘Great are thy favours, ‘O mother’ is quite famous.

BENARE. Order, order! This is all straight out of a school composition-book. [Bites her tongue ironically.] Prisoner Miss Benare, for abrogating the authority of the court, a reprimand is once more issued to you! [Pretends to bang a gavel.]

SUKHATME. I am deeply grateful, Milord, for your addition. In short, ‘Woman is a wife for a moment, but a mother for ever.’

Related Characters: Benare (speaker), Sukhatme (speaker), Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Mrs. Kashikar (speaker)
Page Number: 79
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:

All right. She’s not less than thirty-four. I'll give it to you in writing! What I say is, our society should revive the old custom of child marriage. Marry off the girls before puberty. All this promiscuity will come to a full stop. If anyone has ruined our society it’s Agarkar and Dhondo Keshav Karve. That's my frank opinion, Sukhatme, my frank opinion.

Related Characters: Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Benare, Sukhatme
Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:

MRS KASHIKAR. What better proof? Just look at the way she behaves. I don’t like to say anything since she’s one of us. Should there be no limit to how freely a woman can behave with a man? An unmarried woman? No matter how well she knows him? Look how loudly she laughs! How she sings, dances, cracks Jokes! And wandering alone with how many men, day in and day out!

SUKHATME [Disappointed at the ‘proof’]. Mrs Kashikar, at the most one can say all this shows how free she is.

MRS KASHIKAR. Free! Free! She’s free allright—in everything! I shouldn't say it. But since it’s come up in court, I will. Just hold this a minute.

Related Characters: Sukhatme (speaker), Mrs. Kashikar (speaker), Benare, Ponkshe , Mr. Kashikar
Page Number: 100
Explanation and Analysis:

KARNIK. For instance, the accused had attempted suicide once before.

SUKHATME [Radiant]. That’s the point! There is a precedent for the bottle of T1K-20.

KARNIK. I can’t say that exactly. I can only tell you what happened. My information is that the accused attempted suicide because of a disappointment in love. She fell in love at the age of fifteen, with her own maternal uncle! That’s what ended in disappointment.

MRS KASHIKAR [Totally floored]. Her uncle!

SUKHATME. Milord—her maternal uncle—her mother’s brother. What an immoral relationship!

KASHIKAR. In other words, just one step away from total depravity. Fine, Sukhatme, very fine!

SUKHATME. Milord, why do you say ‘fine’? The present conduct of the accused is totally licentious. We know that. But it now seems that her past, too, is smeared in sin. This shows it as clear as daylight.

Related Characters: Sukhatme (speaker), Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Mrs. Kashikar (speaker), Karnik (speaker), Benare, Benare’s Uncle
Page Number: 111
Explanation and Analysis:

SUKHATME. Do you know the accused?

KASHIKAR. Only too well! A sinful canker on the body of society— that’s my honest opinion of these grown-up unmarried girls.

Related Characters: Sukhatme (speaker), Mr. Kashikar (speaker), Benare
Page Number: 112
Explanation and Analysis:

The woman who is an accused has made a heinous blot on the sacred brow of motherhood—which is purer than heaven itself. For that, any punishment, however great, that the law may give her, will be too mild by far. The character of the accused is appalling. It is bankrupt of morality. Not only that. Her conduct has blackened all social and moral values. The accused is public enemy number one. If such socially destructive tendencies are encouraged to flourish, this country and its culture will be totally destroyed […] Motherhood without marriage has always been considered a very great sin by our religion and our traditions. Moreover, if the accused’s intention of bringing up the offspring of this unlawful maternity is carried to completion, I have a dreadful fear that the very existence of society will be in danger. There will be no such thing as moral values left. Milord, infanticide is a dreadful act. But bringing up the child of an illegal union is certainly more horrifying. If it is encouraged, there will be no such thing as the institution of marriage left. Immorality will flourish. Before our eyes, our beautiful dream of a society governed by tradition will crumble into dust. […] Woman bears the grave responsibility of building up the high values of society. […] ‘Woman is not fit for independence.’ . . . That is the rule laid down for us by tradition.

Related Characters: Sukhatme (speaker), Benare
Page Number: 114-115
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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Sukhatme Character Timeline in Silence! The Court is in Session

The timeline below shows where the character Sukhatme 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
...child, insulting Rokde, whom she says the Kashikars have turned into a slave, and mocking Sukhatme’s unpopular law practice and Ponkshe’s academic failings. Finally, Benare notes there’s an “intellectual,” who refuses... (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... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Ponkshe returns and Sukhatme jokes that although Ponkshe has failed his science exam twice, and works as a clerk,... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Karnik, an experimental theatre actor, enters. Sukhatme stands and asks Karnik if he thinks the room is suitable for their trial. Karnik... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Benare says if she were Karnik she’d buy his wife daily garlands. Sukhatme enters the conversation, and tells Benare that she could buy gifts for her husband, wondering,... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Karnik, Kashikar, and Sukhatme consider the organization of the courtroom. Karnik points out where “President Johnson” will stand and... (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... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...Kashikar shoot 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,... (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... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
...complains that the troop has performed their planned trial, about atomic weapons, seven times already. Sukhatme suggests creating a new, imaginary case to pass time and teach Samant about the court.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...Benare leaves to room to wash her face and freshen up. While she’s gone Karnik, Sukhatme, Ponkshe, and Kashikar decide to keep the same cast as before but find a new... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...add variety, 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... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...players in the wings arrive and 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... (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 to Benare but she declines, flustered. Sukhatme wonders why she’s so... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...the word and Karnik explains. Samant is shocked by the gravity of the charge, but Sukhatme argues “there’s no fun in a case unless there’s a really thundering charge.” Kashikar adds... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...Kashikar didn’t need the gavel for this practice trial, he now decides to use it. Sukhatme proposes that the court take a 15 second break to spit out the pan. The... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...that she “can’t shut up at home, can’t shut up here.” Mrs. Kashikar protests, but Sukhatme cuts her off, arguing Kashikar was “just joking.” (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...of law.” Karnik urges her to be serious so Samant can better understand the court. Sukhatme adds they need to be serous “otherwise, this game becomes really childish.” (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...couldn’t even kill a cockroach. Rokde sets up a book for oath-taking and a witness-box. Sukhatme, stretched out lazily while smoking, delivers the prosecution’s speech. He begins, “motherhood is a sacred... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...proverb, that mothers are “higher than heaven.” Mrs. Kashikar also gives an additional quote, but Sukhatme only acknowledges Kashikar’s addition, and then adds himself that “woman is a wife for a... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme argues that, given the status of motherhood, infanticide is the most “devilish thing on earth,”... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Sukhatme grills Ponkshe on his relationship to Benare. Ponkshe describes her as a “schoolmarm” which Benare... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme asks Ponkshe if Benare’s conduct is “like that of a normal unmarried woman?” Benare objects... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...although Benare jokes about leaving herself, and Karnik seems fed up, Kashikar insists they continue. Sukhatme resumes his questioning. Ponkshe says sometimes Benare’s actions make no sense, beginning a story about... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Karnik explains he knows Benare through their theatre troop. Sukhatme wonders what descriptions of mothers are like in the plays Karnik performs. Karnik says there... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Sukhatme notes Karnik is in “form today.” Kashikar agrees but asks Karnik to give straight answers... (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
...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 that if... (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,... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Benare gets agitated, arguing that her private life is off limits. Sukhatme insists she calm down, and not spoil the mood, as this “game’s great fun.” (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...also accuses Benare of looking downfallen when she saw he had arrived at Damle’s house. Sukhatme submits the evidence to Kashikar and adds that Benare’s “behavior is certainly suspicious.” She protests,... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme calls Samant to the witness box. Samant is confused but game, and takes the oath... (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... (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... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...wonders what happened, while the rest of the cast becomes suddenly excited. Kashikar comments to Sukhatme that “the whole fabric of society is being soiled these days,” and Sukhatme observes that,... (full context)
Act Three
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Act Three resumes where Act Two let off. Sukhatme and Kashikar, speaking more formally than in the previous acts, usher Benare to the witness... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Sukhatme puts on his lawyer gown and urges Kashikar to put on his judge’s robes. As... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme orders the assembled men and women to sit. He closes his eyes and prays, noting... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...the dictionary, and though she still will not speak Mrs. Kashikar argues they should continue. Sukhatme begins to question her although she remains silent. Sukhatme asks her age, and Mrs. Kashikar... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme asks Benare how she has managed to remain unmarried at such a “mature” “advanced” age.... (full context)
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Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Mrs. Kashikar is called to the stand. Kashikar mocks her for being over eager. Sukhatme asks Mrs. Kashikar why, she thinks, Benare has remained unmarried. Mrs. Kashikar believes it must... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme asks Mrs. Kashikar for proof that Benare has behaved promiscuously. Mrs. Kashikar points to the... (full context)
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...Kashikar tries another strategy, wondering why Benare needed Damle to walk her home after performances. Sukhatme wonders if Damle was just doing her a favor, as he is a family man.... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme dismisses Mrs. Kashikar and calls Rokde as a witness again. As the players shift positions... (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 urge “Balu” to speak.... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Sukhatme prompts Ponkshe to discuss the meeting. Benare shakes her head, asking him not to share,... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
...resumes his story. He recounts how Benare 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... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...child’s father was Professor Damle. He says he swore not to say the name, but Sukhatme absolves him, arguing it’s not a sin to break an oath inadvertently in court.   (full context)
Middle Class Status, Tradition, and Propriety  Theme Icon
Sukhatme dismisses Ponkshe. He suspects that after failing to convince Ponkshe to marry her, Benare turned... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...love with her uncle, and when the relationship ended, she tried to end her life. Sukhatme is shocked by the revelation of this “immoral relationship,” and takes it as proof that... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...piece of evidence that, because the case has such “great social significance” must be shared. Sukhatme, too, agrees tradition should and can be broken. (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...her and “grown-up unmarried girls” like her “a sinful canker on the body of society.” Sukhatme rebukes him for sharing his opinion unasked, but Kashikar is unashamed. (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...lips but Karnik bats it away. Ponkshe picks it up, and sees it is TIK-20. Sukhatme rests the prosecution. Kashikar calls the counsel for the accused. Sukhatme, playing both the prosecution... (full context)
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Women’s Roles in Society Theme Icon
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
Kashikar asks the counsel for the prosecution to plead his case. Sukhatme, reenergized as the prosecution, jumps up begins. Kashikar tells him to be brief. He is... (full context)
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Sukhatme argues Benare’s greatest crime is not infanticide, but unwed motherhood, and her intention to be... (full context)
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Sukhatme changes his demeanor, becoming the downcast defense lawyer. He gives a brief statement. As the... (full context)
Performance and Self Expression Theme Icon
...The men discuss how late it is, and how the time got away from him. Sukhatme exclaims that they had fun, and that he felt like he was “fighting a real... (full context)
Guilt and Innocence  Theme Icon
...is motionless on the ground. Mrs. Kashikar comments on how sensitive Benare is, and Kashikar, Sukhatme, and Ponkshe reassert that the whole thing was just a game. Mrs. Kashikar shakes Benare... (full context)