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This is the story of the world’s biggest drug deal.

In the nineteenth century, the British East India Company operated a triangle of trade that straddled the globe, running from India to China to Britain. From India to China, they took opium. From China to Britain, they took tea. From Britain to India, they brought empire. It was a machine that consumed cheap Indian land and labour and spat out money.

For more than a century, the British knew that the drug was dangerous and continued to trade in it anyway. Its legacy in India, whether the poverty of Bihar or the wealth of Bombay, is still not acknowledged. Like many colonial institutions in India, the story of opium is one of immense pain for many and huge privileges for a few.

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cover of hamlet and angad

The following three plays, written and performed between 2009 and 2019, are now collected in a single volume by Dhauli Books.

Hamlet and Angad (2016): The two titular characters find themselves trapped in a strange, psychological landscape that they struggle to escape. Hamlet and Angad (or people claiming to be them) wrestle with ideas of family and identity in this absurdist adventure that explores the parallels between their incarnations in Shakespeare and the Ramayana. The script won the Hindu Playwright Award 2016. Performed by CreaShakthi in 2019.

The Uprising (2013): A satire set in colonial era India where a recently-arrived General bans guns in the fort of Amragaon. The residents instantly rebel and everything goes wrong. Performed by the Eccentrics in August 2013.

A Play About Death (2011): An absurdist story of an insufferable play gone wrong, the warping of reality for fun and profit and how the story must always go on – even if the characters have to die twice to make it happen. Performed by Masquerade Youth Theatre in 2011.

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