MAJOR BARBRA AS A RELIGIOUS PLAY OR “MAJOR BARBRA” EMPHASISES THE NEED OF SUITABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR RELIGION AND MORALITY

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Major Barbra is a great religious play. When the play was first published, Shaw was called irreligious and blasphemous. But with the passage of time the religious greatness of the play has been admired. Every body appreciates the spiritual beauty of Major Barbra, a great woman character of Shaw. It is remarkable that in Major Barbra, the Salvationists are treated with respect. Shaw was prompt to recognize the nobility in a person or in any organization. In “Major Barbra” Shaw conveys his religious belief through a presentation of the day to day working of the Salvation Army. Some years after Shaw had written “Major Barbara” he was told a story about a Salvationist which pleased with him very much. During the strike in South Africa which caused a good deal of distress. The religious leaders called a meeting of the strikers, so that their physical needs could be satisfied. They decided that the strikers should be grouped according to their sects. The Salvationist stood up and said, “All you chaps who don’t belong to any body, come to us.” Shaw like Andrew Undershaft was a realist. He could not shut his eyes to the evils of the orthodox religion. Hew exposed the hypocrisy and hollowness of the so called “Conversions” and “Confessions”. People like Snobby Price confess their sins and are converted not because they are actually sinners but, because they are in need of food and shelter. The impression is created that one can commit a sin and later on can repent at leisure. It is easy to convert starving people like Snobby Price, but it is difficult to convert well fed and well dressed and well clothed. They can not be bribed easily. Andrew Undershaft challenges Barbra: “It is a cheap work converting man with a Bible in one hand and a slice of bread in the other hand. Try your hand on my men; their souls are hungry because their bodies are full.” Salvation is dependent on Devil Dom. The tragedy of Barbra consists in the idealization of the utter helplessness of the individual. When she makes the tragical discovery, she cries out: “My God, why hast thou forsaken me.” When she finds that temple of God has to be built by Mammon, she feels that the whole world is fast receding from beneath her feet. Major Barbra has another shock to get over. She discovers that not only our religious organizations are dependent on the charity of the rich who have earned money by fair or fool means but even an individual can have no religion as he is poor. Poverty keeps the soul open to temptations and is, therefore, the greatest of crimes. Major Barbra realizes that there can be no religion where men are not fulfilled. She is in state of desperation. Her pride has been wounded but not killed. She is a realist and an anti- romantic. She is not against religion but she is against evil practices that have overtaken religion. She strongly advocates that all that is old and out dated in religion should be changed and brought closer to the needs of the people of the modern society. Shaw greatly admired the sincerity, courage and genius of such religious leaders as Barbra. Barbra is original in her religion and correctly interprets the teachings of Jesus Christ. Her superiority to moralists and her ardent zeal to carry on the work of God as against her personal gratification raise her to the stature of a true redeemer of mankind. Written&Composed By: Prof. A.R.Somroo M.A.English&Education. 0662610063 Cell: 03339971417 Khangarh.

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