Bengaluru: Bangalore Little Theatre, to celebrate its Golden Jubilee and also Professor Vijay Padaki’s 80th birthday, is presenting his play, ‘Credit Titles’, in Bangalore, on July 20, 21, 27 and 28, 2019. What makes it special for IIM Bangalore is that it celebrates a short story author (Professor Vinod Vyasulu) and the script writer (Professor Vijay Padaki), both of whom were faculty at IIMB.
Background to the play: In the early 90’s India opened up its economy and joined the world economic order as a player and thus became a participant in the globalization of trade. That meant conforming to global practices in Intellectual Property Rights. It also meant joining the World Trade Organization. Arthur Dunkel was the Director-General of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade between 1980 and 1993. He compiled an international agreement about the scope of Intellectual Property Rights and its procedures. It came to be called the ‘Dunkel Draft’. The draft was accepted and became the foundation of the World Trade Organization. The early 90’s saw a great deal of debate on several issues arising from the Dunkel Draft. An important one was the ethical-legal question of patenting life forms. In other words: who does life belong to?
Professors Vinod Vyasulu and Vijay Padaki were colleagues at Indian Institute of Management Bangalore during its formative years. They have published work together combining development economics and the behavioral sciences. The play ‘Credit Titles’ came out of a conversation around the Dunkel Draft. The conversation was part serious and part light-hearted. Prof. Vyasulu suggested that since ‘dunkel’ in German meant ‘darkness’, it might well be that the poor countries in the world were dealing with a ‘darkness draft’. They did not know what they are getting into and were perhaps being prevented from knowing what they were getting into! Very soon Prof. Vyasulu had written it all up as a short story. He then asked Prof. Padaki if he would like to make a play out of it, which he did. He shared the play script with a few close friends, including two in Chennai. One of them wrote back immediately suggesting Prof. Padaki to submit the script to The Hindu, who had just then announced the (first) awards for contemporary play scripts. The friend even offered to submit the play script on his behalf. Months later, when all was forgotten, he received a phone call informing him that ‘Credit Titles’ had won the award. The extraordinarily talented dramatist Pearl Padamsee was chairperson of the award jury. She later congratulated Prof. Padaki for turning out a play that was ahead of its time in form and construction.