India must be educated —
Is the system of present Education which is based on Western methods, principles, and ideas suitable for our children, our homes, and líves? Should we give up our own methods, principles, and ideals—our own glorious civilization and culture for the sake of this New Order in Education?
By presenting "Sharda" we give you full two hours to reach a conclusion.
There were two good neighbours — a Vakil and a Munshi. Vakil had a son—Ashok. The Munshi had two children, a son—Jaggoo and a daughter—Sarojini. In their childhood, Ashok and Sarojini were married. The Vakil spent liberally for the education of Ashok but Munshi was careless, his two children remained uneducated. The Munshi did not live to reap the fruits of his carelessness.
Ashok was sent to England to study Law. After many years he returned as a Barrister. On the other hand, Sarojini had been brought up by her poor mother according to the old traditions—to cover her face at the approach of her husband and to worship hím as her Lord and guiding spirit in life. But it proved a shock for Ashok who had returned from a land where people laugh at our customs and ideals.
He had expected that his sweet young wife would greet hím with—"Oh, my darling...Oh, my dear". But Sarojini with her face covered touched his feet and worshipped the vert' dust on which he stood.
For Ashok, it was nonsense, and out-of-date. He hated all this. He became unhappy. His mother Durga, decided to turn out Sarojini from her house and planned to bring home a modern daughter-in-law who would please Ashok and fit in his design of life and love.
Sharda B.A., young, adorable, with progressive and socialistic ideas was known for her broad views. Durga approached her mother Maya. Concealing the fact that Ashok was already married she persuaded Maya to give Ashok a chance to mix up with Sharda prior to their marriage. On the day that Sharda and her mother were having tea at Vakil's house, Jaggoo, the vagabond devil-may-care brother of Sarojini got the wind that his sister was being turned out of her home and that Ashok was being married again. He burst into a wild rage and rushed to the spot. Before Sharda, he denounced Ashok and his parents. Sarojini could not bear to see her husband insulted even by her own brother, whether he was wrong or right. She slapped Jaggoo right in the face and turned him out. Sharda saw all this and felt interested in Sarojini and Jaggoo.
Munshi Shikarpuri, a simple-hearted but very badly treated tutor of Jaggoo had a different point of view. He wanted to reform Jaggoo by marrying him to some educated girl. His choice fell on Sharda B.A. He managed this reformation process in a very funny way. Strange incidents took place resulting in the death of Jaggoo's mother and later Munshi Shikarpuri found himself and Jaggoo in Jail. Sharda came to their rescue.
Every day brought insults and injuries to Sarojini from her modern husband Ashok, who in despair and hate left the house and began to stay at his office. Sarojini fought hard to win him back.
One day in Ashok's office, a young woman appeared in a veil. The clerk introduced her to Barrister Ashok as a new client whose husband had ill-treated her and left her. Ashok boasted—"Don't you worry, young woman! I will see that your husband is thoroughly punished by the court. I will bring your husband back to you. I will fight for you. I plead for justice." The woman fell on her knees and touched his feet. In a flash, Ashok knew that the woman before him was his own wife!! The feelings of sympathy gave place to a surge of uncontrollable anger. In mad fury, he kicked her out.
Now Ashok was determined to marry Sharda at all costs. Sharda wished to awake In him the feeling that he was already married to a woman who loved him. She wanted him to realize that only Western Education did not make wives what wives should be.
To accomplish his wishes Ashok planned out a strange scheme. He got hold of a stage-play written by Munshi Shikarpuri. It was a story of two Rajkumars—one educated and the other uneducated and a Rajkumari who loved them both but in the end had to choose, as her husband, the one who was educated. He decided to stage the Drama. He would persuade Sharda to play the Raikumari,— he himself would play the educated Rajkumar—then there would be the marriage—not the stage-marriage, but a real marriage!! This was what he schemed!
Did he succeed? How did Sharda solve this tangled problem? After seeing "SHARDA" do let us know whether Sharda was right in what she did.
[from the official press booklet]