Sakharam Binder (Sakharam, the Binder) is a play by Marathi playwright Vijay Tendulkar and was first performed in 1972. It was banned in India in 1974. It was produced and directed by Kamlakar Sarang.
Sakharam Binder, the protagonist, thinks he has the system by the tail and he can disregard the culture & societal values as long as he is truthful. That system is the de facto enslavement of women in postcolonial India, despite the promises of democracy and modernity. Sakharam, a bookbinder, picks up other men's discarded women—castoff wives who would otherwise be homeless, destitute or murdered with impunity—and takes them in as domestic servants and sex partners.
He rules his home like a tin-pot tyrant, yet each woman is told that she is free to leave whenever she likes. He will even give her a sari, 50 rupees and a ticket to wherever she wants to go. Everything good and proper, where Sakharam Binder is concerned, he says. He's no husband to forget common decency. What he does not anticipate are the moral and emotional complications of this arrangement, which prove heartbreakingly ruinous to everyone involved.
Adaptation and Translations
The play has since been adapted and translated into many Indian languages, including Hindi, Bengali and English.
Its most recent performance in English was staged Off-Broadway as a part of the theatre company The Play Company's season starring Adam Alexi-Malle, Sarita Choudhury, Anna George, Sanjiv Jhaveri, Bernard White and directed by Maria Mileaf. It was additionally included as the closing play at the month-long, Tendulkar Festival, held at New York, in 2004.
MAD Playhouse Theater, a New York based theater group, will be opening their show with "Sakharam Binder" on 30th June, 2013. More details available at www.madplayhouse.com
- Five Plays, Vijay Tendulkar. (Various Translators), Bombay, Oxford University Press, 1992. ISBN 0-19-563736-4.
- Collected Plays in Translation: Kamala, Silence! the Court Is in Session, Sakharam Binder, the Vultures, Encounter in Umbugland, Ghashiram Kotwal, a Friend's Story, Kanyadaan. New Delhi, 2003, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-566209-1.
- The Archetypal Identity of Laxmi in Sakharam Binder, Mohan R. Limaye, Modern Asian Studies, Vol. 12, No. 1 (1978), pp. 135-143
- Champa and Laxmi in Sakharam Binder
- Binderche Diwas, by Kamlakar Sarang,