It is a matter of great pleasure and a proud privilege for us to revise the edition of Malavikagnimitram by late M.R. Kale, so as to suit the needs of present day students. Kale's edition, with its scholastic and comprehensive contents has been very useful to students as well as to scholars and teachers and hence the same, in its revised form, is made available, to-day, by us.
The English translation, in the present edition, is printed opposite to the corresponding Sanskrit text for immediate and ready reference. The topics viz. 'The Sanskrit Drama,' 'Kalidasa and Bhavabuti', 'Technical Remarks,' and the 'Time analysis of the Play' from the Introduction to the last edition are not included in this edition, as we feel, they are not required to be studied by the F.Y. Arts students, for whom the present edition is mainly indended. The Prakrta text, the Sanskrit commentary of Katayavema and the variant readings will, no doubt, help and enlighten the study of the play. At the end, an alphabetical Index of verses, an index of the Subhasitas occurring in the play and a detailed note on the metres, are retained in this edition to facilitate the needs of readers.
The Malavikagnimitra is essentially a loveplay; it is not only the shortest, but also the earliest of Kalidasa's dramas; probably the earliest of all his works, as the rest of them show a technical skill, a poetical power, and a general command over smooth and brilliant expressions which must belong to a maturer period of development. As we have shown elsewhere, this play presents all the graces and special peculiarities of Kalidasa's style of composition, though everywhere in a cruder form than are to be found, for instance, in the Sakuntala or the Meghaduta, showing the young writer cautiously feeling his way along the path of the poetic composition. Kalidasa especially excelled in his similes, which he mostly draws from his keen observation of Nature and natural phenomena.
Whether in prose or in poetry, his language is perfectly free from all the unnaturalness, the bad taste, and the extravagance and the artificiality of latter-day Sanskrit. The stanzas of poetry interspersed in his plays are often lyrical gems of the highest beauty. The Malavikagnimitra, however, compares unfavourably with the other two plays of Kalidasa in respect of style; for the two plays are throughout more finished, more polished, and more smooth-flowing.