Girish Karnad’s play Hayavadana is considered one of the landmark works in the annals of Indian theatre. The play brings about the interplay of. Hayavadana is a popular play by Girish Karnad discussing about incompleteness, human relations, absurdism, sins, hypocrite ideals, etc. Get all the key plot points of Girish Karnad’s Hayavadana on one page. The play opens with a puja to Ganesha, as the Bhagavata asks that.

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The play opens with a puja to Ganesha, as the Bhagavata asks that Ganesha bless the performance that he and the company are about to put on. Then he places the audience in the setting of the play, Dharmapura, and begins to introduce the central characters.

Hayavadana Summary from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

The first is Devadattathe son of a Brahmin who outshines the other pundits and poets of the kingdom. The second is Kapilathe son of the iron-smith who is skilled at physical feats of strength. The two are the closest of friends. As the Bhagavata sets up the story, there is a scream of terror offstage. The Bhagavata suggests he go to the temple of Kalias she grants anything anyone asks for.

Hayavadana sets out for the temple, hopeful that Kali will be able to change his head to a human head. Recovering from the interruption, the Bhagavata returns to the play. He begins to sing, explaining that the two heroes fell in love with a girl and forgot themselves. Meanwhile, a female chorus sings in the background about the nature of love.

Devadatta and Kapila enter. Devadatta explains his love for Padminiexplaining that he would sacrifice his arms and his head if he could marry her.

Kapila at first makes fun of Devadatta but then sees hayagadana much his friend is affected by Padmini. He agrees to find out her name and where she lives. Kapila goes to the street where Padmini lives and begins to knock on the doors. When Padmini opens the door to her home, Kapila is immediately love-struck. Padmini asks him what he wants, plat him as he tries to come up with reasons why he is there.

He eventually explains that he is there to woo her for Devadatta. Kapila says to himself that Padmini really needs a man of steel, and that Devadatta hayafadana too sensitive for someone as quick as Padmini. The Bhagavata reveals that Devadatta and Padmini were quickly married, and that all three remained friends. The story then jumps forward six months, when Padmini is pregnant with a sonand the three friends are hayavadama to go on a trip to Ujjain together.


Devadatta expresses jealousy that Padmini seems to have some affection for Kapila, which Padmini denies. As the three of them travel together, Padmini remarks how well Kapila drives the cart. Padmini remarks to herself how muscular Kapila is, and Devadatta sees Padmini watching him with desire.

When they pass the temple of Rudra and Kali, Devadatta is reminded of his old promise and sneaks away to cut off his head. He decides to cut off his head as well. Padmini begins to get worried about the two men and goes after them. She sees their two headless bodies on the ground and attempts to commit hayavadnaa as well.

The goddess Kali stops her and tells her she will revive the men if Padmini replaces their heads on their bodies. Padmini, in her excitement, accidentally switches the two heads when she replaces them. The two men are revived: At first, the three of them are amused by the mix-up, but when they try to return home, they discover issues.

Each man believes that Padmini is his wife. Kapila does not return with them. She loves his newfound strength, and the two of them prepare for their child. They buy two dolls for their son. He and Padmini fight over how to treat their son, as she believes that Devadatta coddles him. The dolls tell the audience that Padmini begins to paly of Kapila.

When the dolls begin to show signs of wear, Kapila asks Devadatta to get new ones and goes to show her son the forest. As Padmini travels through the woods, she discovers Kapila living there. He has regained his strength, just as Devadatta has lost his. He explains how he had to war against his body, and how he has come to accept that he is, in fact, Kapila.

Padmini implies that she is attracted to him, and spends several nights with him. Devadatta returns with the dolls and tries to find Padmini in the woods. He discovers her with Kapila, and the two decide to kill each other to put an end to the struggle between their heads and their bodies.


After they have killed each other, Padmini decides to perform satithrowing herself on their funeral pyre.

The Bhagavata explains that Padmini was, in her own way, a devoted wife. Just as the audience believes the play has ended, a second actor comes onstage saying that there was a horse walking down the street singing the national anthem. The first actor also enters, with a young boy in tow.

The boy is very serious, and does not speak, laugh, or cry. At that point, Hayavadana returns.

Play Review: Hayavadana – kitaab

He explains that he had asked Kali to make him complete, but instead of nayavadana him a complete human, she has made him a complete horse. Hayavadana still wishes to rid himself of his human voice, and the boy encourages him to laugh.

The Bhagavata concludes the story by marveling at the mercy of Ganesha, who has fulfilled the desires of Hayavadana and the young boy. He says that it is time to pray, and Hayavdaana, Devadatta, and Kapila join in thanking the Lord for ensuring the completion and success of the play.

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Hayavadana by Girish Karnad. Download this Lit Guide! Retrieved Hayxvadana 30, Download this Chart PDF. They’re like having in-class notes for every discussion! Get the Teacher Edition. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.

HAYAVADANA play review

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