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In Rabindranath Tagore’s The Post Office or Dakghar, Madhav is one of the most important characters. He is the foster father of Amal, the dying young boy. Madhav’s character is a foil to Amal’s. Amal yearns for freedom; but Madhav tries to keep him inside, almost imprisoned within the four walls and believes that Amal has a fatal disease and needs a restricted life to get well. Eventually, Madhav is proved wrong by Royal Physician who sets Amal free. In the opening scene, Madhav’s conversation with Doctor who treats Amal reveals the central problem of the play: Amal’s illness. Madhav resolves to follow the prescription of Doctor and does not let Amal go outside. It is to be noted that Madhav loves and cares for Amal. He does not want to lose Amal. Whenever Madhav restricts Amal, he does that for his health. It is out of his affection and love that he
scrupulously follows Doctor’s advice and administers medicines to Amal. he opines. considers his restlessness to be a sign of a fatal malady. However. he wants to go to .” According to Tagore. In the letter which Tagore wrote to Charles Freer Andrews on 4th June. Amal is restless because he wants freedom from the “comfortable enclosures of habits sanctioned by the prudent. “Amal represents the man whose soul has received the call of the open road. For Madhav. “the worldly-wise. Amal does not want to be a learned. Once Madhav tells Gaffer that Amal “clings to my heart in such a queer sort of way” and because of Amal “earning becomes a joy” to Madhav. He encourages Amal to be a “learned” because he believes that a learned man can earn a lot of money. However.” That is why Madhav fears that Gaffer can “send children off their heads” like the autumn wind. 1921 from Berlin. Instead. Madhav fails to understand Amal. earning is the aim of life.” but Madhav.
to Dairyman’s village.Parrot’s Isle. In conclusion. in the last scene. the hills stand as “a barrier.” Moreover. the hills that he sees through his window are the earth’s hands that it raises into the sky to beckon “those who live far off. it can be suggested that the playwright satirises all the “worldly wise” figures through Madhav’s character. and thus stand in opposition with Gaffer and Royal Physician. and King’s post man. The fundamental difference between Amal and Madhav is emphasised by Tagore through their conversation on Panch-mura hills. and sit by their windows. a bird. the ones who misperceive Amal’s yearning for freedom. Gaffer rebukes Madhav calling him “unbeliever”. a flower-gatherer like Sudha. To Amal. and he contrasts Madhav’s character with Amal’s . a squirrel.” whereas to Madhav. Madhav is grouped with Doctor and Village Headman. a dairyman. to get kidnapped. to be a job-seeker.
in order to intensify the latter’s longing for freedom. . Madhav’s blindness to Amal’s yearning for emancipation ironically helps the reader/audience gain the necessary insight for understanding the play as a story of spiritual awakening.