Prakriti, a young girl of the “untouchable” caste, or the Chandalis, is shunned by those around her because of society’s terrible practice of oppressing a sector of its own people due to perceived inferiority. A wandering Buddhist monk asks Prakriti, or “Chandalika,” for some water. Chandalika initially refuses, stating that society forbids a higher individual such as the monk to interact with an untouchable. The Monk, Ananda, persuades Chandalika to give him water by teaching her that all human beings are equal in the eyes of god. Ananda then continues on his way, but Chandalika has fallen in love with him. She begs her mother to use her magical powers to bring this marvelous being to her. When he returns by the power of magic, shamed and degraded, Chandalika realizes that she has done him great harm and asks for forgiveness.

Invocation: A dance in praise of Rabindranath Tagore’s Chandalika, Kuchipudi art, and the members of the orchestra