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?
Ans. English is no more the language of the English people. It is common property. It is understood and spoken by almost 40 per cent of people in the world. India adopted English in a big way in the 20th century. But its popularity began much earlier. The story Rastga’s Marriage gives us a glimpse of the widening influence of English on Indian life and thinking. Ranga’s education in an English school in Bangalore changed his views about marriage. He wanted to marry an educated, mature girl whom he knew and admired. This was a revolt against child marriage and arranged marriage. The narrator belongs to the old generation. He makes fun of the use of English words and the mark of modernism.
2. Astrologers’ perceptions are based more on hearsay and conjecture than that they learn from the study of the stars. Comment with reference to the story.
Ans. Astrology is the study of the supposed influence of the planets on human life. It is an ancient science. Our forefathers had and even the elders to this day believe in auspicious dates for marriage or business deals. Even national leaders consult astrologers. The question of whether it is an exact science or just make-believe is still unanswered. The roadside astrologers befool the simple-hearted villagers and common people. The fear of the unknown, the evil influence of the position of stars is at the root of our belief in the perceptions made by pundits. In this story, Shyama tutors the astrologer how to befool Ranga. The astrologer follows the advice of the narrator and tells Ranga that he was destined to marry a girl named Ratna. And Ranga readily believes him.
3. Indian society has moved a long way from the way the marriage is arranged in the story. Discuss.
Ans. Marriage in India is not a contract but a sacred ceremony. It is a life-long alliance of a boy and a girl. Child marriage was a common practice in our country till we got independence. The parents alone used to arrange the marriage. The boy or girl had no say in it. But it is not so common today, particularly in big towns and cities. The youth often choose their life-partners themselves. The law also allows an 18-year-old girl to marry a 2I-year-old boy. They can go in for court marriage. They sideline the parents boldly. But India is still far behind the West in this field. Only the economically independent youngsters take such a bold step. The parents still negotiate the terms and conditions of marriage in 80 per cent cases.
4. What kind of a person do you think the narrator is?
Ans. The narrator of the story Ranga’s Marriage is certainly not a social worker nor a marriage broker. It is not his vocation to find a match for an eligible bachelor. He is guided just by his whims to get Ranga married. But the way he goes about it shows his shrewdness. his foolproof planning. He tells lies to entrap Ranga. He calls Ratna and Ranga to his house. He keenly observes Ranga’s face and feelings on seeing Ratna. He conspires with the village pundit/Shastri to convince Ranga that Ratna is destined to be his wife.
The narrator is certainly not well educated. He certainly does not like people to speak in English. That’s why he was pleased with Ranga because he did not show any airs even after coming back from Bangalore. When Ranga expresses his views on marriage he takes it as a challenge to get him married. He is easily pleased when Ranga brings him a couple of oranges and behaves respectfully. He has no faith in astrological predictions or perceptions.