‘Unbounded freedom is just an illusion’
By Anil Datta
Law and infinite freedom have been in conflict through the ages and unbounded freedom is nothing more than an illusion.
This was the crux of the essay written by Dr Marcus Litz, Director, Goethe-Institut, Karachi, on the subject matter of the book, Die Rauber (The Robbers) by German playwright Friedrich Schiller. The occasion was meant to mark the launch of the Urdu translation of The Robbers (Qazaq in Urdu) at the Goethe-Institut Thursday evening.
The book, a drama by Schiller, has been translated from German into Urdu by Shamim Manzar who also read out Dr Litz’s essay which forms the foreword to the book.
The play strongly criticises the hypocrisy inherent in the class system of society of Schiller’s time and age. It depicts the manner wherein people use something as sublime and beautiful as religion to achieve their nefarious ends and make it the springboard to the fulfillment of hypocritical values. It is a condemnation of values springing from social inequality.
Shamim, while reading out from the essay, stressed that this phenomenon which Schiller pointed out at the tail-end of the 18th century, held as good today, the first decade of the 21st Century, whereby we see double standards in morality, exploiting religion for the attainment of personal, and often insidious, interests, and the overall hypocrisy.
“We see this in the scant regard for law and order today. We see it in the double standards and opposing sets of laws and rules for the Haves and the Have-Nots in society”, Manzar said.
Later, two personalities from the world of theatre, Ehtashamuddin and Paras Masroor, enacted certain sections of the play revolving around three characters, a nobleman Maxmillian, his two sons, Karl and Franz. The portions acted out by the two artistes with theatric clarity, complete with well modulated voices, and profundity of expression, brought home the poignant and somewhat unsavoury reality of conflicts that occur between generations, values imposed by society which lead to friction and acrimony. The enacted portions recount the conflicts between the two brothers, the elder Karl being conventional in outlook and the younger, Franz, having his own independent views of life and all that goes with it.
Earlier, Dr Litz said that the launch of the book was part of the Goethe-Institut’s efforts to popularise Schiller in the Sub-Continent. He said it was thought that 2009 would be the most auspicious time to do so on account of Schiller’s 250th birth anniversary.