Get here the summary, questions, answers, textbook solutions, extras, and pdf of the poem (Chapter 3) “Ranga’s Marriage” by Masti Venkatesha Iyengar of the Assam Board (AHSEC / SEBA) Class 11 (first year) English (Snapshots) textbook. However, the given notes/solutions should only be used for references and should be modified/changed according to needs.
Summary: Ranga, a humble young man from the village of Hosahalli, is the protagonist, and the tale revolves around his search for a bride. The story’s narrator lives in the town and has tremendous pride in his hometown. He takes it as an insult that his hometown is never mentioned in English-authored geography texts.
There was a similar trend among Indian authors, and Hosahalli is still mostly unknown outside of India. The city of Mysore is a significant landmark in the state. The village doctor, who has travelled widely, shares the same view. A unique variety of mango and a flowering creeper in the pond are two of the village’s greatest assets. Our narrator, Shyama, recounts an event that occurred a decade ago. Rural residents of the past were unable to learn the language of the modern world. They spoke entirely in their native tongue without any attempts to sound more sophisticated by using English vocabulary.
In the end, it was the local accountant who mustered up the nerve to send his son, Ranga, to Bangalore to further his education. Ranga’s return after six months away was cause for celebration. The narrator and the rest of the population hurried to see him. An old woman even checked if he was still wearing the sacred thread by touching his chest. The fact that he had not “lost his caste” made her happy, and she grinned. As others saw that the boy still had his original hands, legs, eyes, and nose, they gradually began to leave. When Ranga took note of the narrator, he bowed low in deference. A possible future marriage was wished for him by the narrator.
When Ranga came to see the narrator that afternoon, he brought a gift. When queried by the narrator about his plans for marriage, Ranga said he didn’t see it happening any time soon. He intended to take his time before settling down. He thought that people shouldn’t get married until they were ready emotionally and physically. A guy should only marry a woman he respects, and he argues that no man can respect an immature woman. Though disheartened by Ranga’s beliefs, the narrator remained committed to finding a suitable partner for Ranga.
Rama Rao’s niece, Ratna, was eleven years old. She had travelled from her large town to visit her uncle. She was a talented vocalist and veena/harmonium player. Her parents had passed away, so her uncle took her in. According to the narrator, Ranga couldn’t have picked a better bride than Ratna. The narrator had a casual and friendly relationship with the girl and was a frequent guest at Rama Rao’s house. He told Rama Rao’s wife that Ratna might pick up some buttermilk from his place. A stunning saree adorned Ratna as she left. The narrator summoned Ranga and politely requested that she sing. Ranga approached the door while she was singing, and she paused at the threshold, transfixed by the beauty of her voice. The singer should not cease singing, but he would like to see who is singing. The sight of the stranger caused Ratna to halt short.
He enquired as to the nature of Shyama’s summons. Ratna kept her distance and bowed her head. Shyama witnessed Ranga’s persistent eye contact with her. When Ranga realised this, he felt awkward and wanted to leave immediately, but he didn’t. Ratna’s shyness got the best of her, and she ran into a room. The narrator was hesitant to tell Ranga who she was. He fabricated the fact that she had been married for a year. Ranga eventually left, showing clear signs of disappointment.
According to Indian custom, the narrator visited the Shastri to inform him about the impending marriage and coach him on how to approach the issue. An hour or so later, the narrator encountered Ranga, who was still deep in thought. To learn how favourable the stars were for him, he asked the young man to accompany him to see Shastri. Ranga consented without hesitation and sat down in front of Shastri, who appeared to be doing some sort of mental arithmetic and had calculated that the source of Ranga’s distress included a female.
Shyama’s plan was succeeding. Shastri, too, stuck to the plan. He questioned Shastri if negotiating with Rama Rao for his niece Ratna would yield any beneficial results. Shastri pretended to consider it for a moment before responding that it could. Ranga’s countenance brightened for a minute, only to be disappointed when the narrator revealed that she was married. Shastri suggested that they look for another suitable female. They passed Rama Rao’s house on their way and spotted Ratna waiting at the door. The narrator entered alone, but returned a minute later to report that he had made a mistake; the girl was not married. Ranga then revealed his affection for Ratna. They tied the knot.
Time whizzed by. Ranga stopped by one day to invite the narrator to dinner to celebrate his kid, Shyama’s, third birthday. The narrator was amused by their choice of name for their adorable son. Ranga and Ratna, on the other hand, followed the English practice of naming the infant after someone they adored. Ranga’s son ran up to the narrator and wrapped his arms around his legs. The narrator kissed him on the cheek and placed a ring on his tiny little finger.
Reading with Insight
1. Comment on the influence of English- the language and the way of life- on Indian life as reflected in the story. What is the narrator’s attitude to English?
Answer: There is no denying the pervasiveness of English, both linguistically and culturally, in contemporary Indian society. This story gives us a glimpse into a small Indian community where English is not spoken and English words are not used in daily life. The first to send his son Ranga to Bangalore to study English was the village accountant. That’s why everybody in the town got so excited to see him return. A large group of people gathered around to get a glimpse of him and to inquire as to whether or not he was still wearing the sacred thread. They viewed the ability to speak English as a “priceless commodity,” and anyone who put in the effort to learn the language was held in high regard.
2. The narrator’s attitude was quite positive. He showed that the language did not have any adverse influence on Ranga, who still wore the sacred thread and bent low for the ‘namaskara’. Astrologers’ perceptions are based more on hearsay and conjecture than on what they learn from the study of the stars. Comment with reference to the story.
Answer: Without a doubt, astrology is a legitimate scientific discipline that calls for an investigation. However, it is generally practised in most Indian villages without much knowledge, mainly due to the prevalence of superstition in the culture. Even though Shastri is working with the narrator to arrange Ranga’s marriage, his level of astrological knowledge remains unknown throughout the story. Ranga, who held such unorthodox beliefs, was easily convinced by his lip and finger movements when he calculated the positions of the stars and planets. The narrator had already instructed Shastri, but he made it seem like it was the foretelling of Ranga’s planetary positions.
3. Indian society has moved a long way from the way the marriage was arranged in the story. Discuss.
Answer: Even though modern Indian society has progressed significantly from the time period depicted in the story, arranged marriages are still common in conservative families, especially in rural India. The marriageable age, however, has undergone a remarkable shift. Nowadays, unlike Ratna, girls don’t get married off at such a young age. Marriage has taken a back seat to education and career in modern times. The need for a third party to act as a go-between or matchmaker, as in the case of a narrator, has been eliminated. The freedom to select a life partner based on one’s own values and priorities is valuable freedom. In the story, Ratna’s opinion isn’t even asked for, which would never happen now.
4. What kind of person do you think the narrator is?
Answer: The narrator is a nice person who wants to get to know everyone. Even though his boasts about his hometown are exaggerated, he is very proud of it. His level of community involvement is demonstrated by his role in coordinating Ranga’s wedding. In order to get Ranga to agree to the marriage, he resorts to manipulation and influences the Shastri to do as he had planned. The narrator is ultimately successful in forming the union despite Ranga’s unorthodox approach to marriage. The couple, Ranga and Ratna, thought so highly of him that they decided to name their son after him. He genuinely cares about the happy couple.
Additional/extra questions and answers/solutions
1. Why did the author’s conversation with Ranga about marriage end in disappointment?
Answer: The author felt let down by Ranga’s unorthodox marriage stance. He plans to wait until he finds a woman he truly respects and admires before tying the knot. Otherwise, he’d rather keep his single status.
8. How did the narrator manage to pull off the wedding of Ranga?
Answer: Despite Ranga’s unorthodox views on marriage, Shyama was determined to bring about a union between Ranga and Ratna, Rama Rao’s beautiful niece, who was then eleven years old. So, he cunningly set up a meeting at his place between Ranga and Ratna. Ranga, he found out, had secretly grown fond of the young lady. Shyama went so far as to convince the village Shastri to influence Ranga and tell him that she was already married in order to confirm the boy’s feelings. Ranga eventually told Ratna how he felt about her, and the two finally tied the knot.
9. What kind of reception did Ranga receive upon his return to the village?
Answer: As the first person from his village to be sent to Bangalore for higher education, Ranga was the son of the village accountant. Learning English was a valuable asset in Hosahalli. Everyone avoided using English words and avoided speaking the language. When word got around that Ranga had been exposed to English culture, the entire village came to witness any potential transformation. The elderly lady smiled as she felt his chest for the sacred thread and found it. They were reassured that he had not fallen out of his caste. People slowly began to disperse after they saw that Ranga still had the same limbs, eyes, and nose.
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