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The play, Naga-Mandala, is based on folktales about Naga, popular in Karnataka and in several other parts of India in its different forms. Karnad had heard these tales from A.K. Ramanujan, who had collected many folktales and their variants prevalent in different parts of India. In the folktale, there is a snake who assumes the form of the prince enters the palace and woos the beautiful princess. When the prince comes to know about it, he gets the snake killed. The wife then sets him a riddle. If he fails to answer the riddle, he is to die. In some tales, the snake takes revenge on the man. In Karnad’s play, it sacrifices itself for the happy life of Rani and Appanna. The play dramatizes man’s attitude to woman in a patriarchal society, mistrust, infidelity and lack of communication, breaking family life and the institution of marriage, and it reaffirms the significance of motherhood as the cementing factor in the family and the society. The play upholds the significance of family, marriage and society.

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