|The Story ‘Ranga’s Marriage’ in the book ‘Snapshots’ of class 11 is a stain on the name of radicalism.|
From a few decades, our education has undergone with a number of changes to a great extent; with mindset of students depending on their school’s ambiance and the education. The education further depends on what is taught and what is taught depends on the content in books. In the recent times, many of the NCERT textbooks are being reviewed to eliminate what may be inappropriate.
The same is the case with Ranga’s Marriage.
|MASTI VENKATESH IYENGAR, The author of RANG.A’S MARRIAGE|
But this story to a great extent has challenged the modern social structure of our country. This also raises a question of what is being taught in our school and what is being put in the minds of students.
Plot of Ranga’s Marriage
What was Ranga’s idea about marriage?
Criticism For Ranga’s Marriage
The story uses extremely diverse description of the village’s mangoes, ponds, leaves which is really useless. If it were a novel, it could’ve been relevant with the context of the chapter. But, it’s not logical to write one page of useless description in a story of three pages.
The way, the narrator bribed and tutored the Astrologer to speak according to him also disregards as well as misrepresents the Indian culture. Indian Astrology is a science. Even then, it is showcased as a superstition or myth in the story.
UPDATE (19-08-2021) : Why was Ratna wearing a saree?
Why Ratna was wearing a saree is a question that many students asked me in the comments. So I am updating this post here to answer.
A Brief History of Indian Clothing
I was able to resolve this query after doing some more research. Salwar Kameez and Suits that women wear today reached the northwest frontiers of our pre-partitioned nation during the invasion by various Middle Eastern rulers. This is the reason, why, most of the Punjabi women prefer wearing them traditionally. During partition, many Punjabis settled in different parts of India, thus influencing the clothing of those areas wherever they settled eventually.
Earlier, women (even young and unmarried women) wore only sarees. Evidences can be found in various texts, old paintings and even movies up to 1980s. With the introduction of salwar kameez to our culture, wearing sarees got limited to only married women. There were also no options of western clothing for them in those times.
Sarees have been worn in different ways in different areas. In some areas, they blended into Lehangas and also somewhere into Ghagra Choli.
Earlier, used used a cloth to wrap in place of any blouse, jumper or choli. Similarly, there were untailored versions of petticoats. With the influence of Persians and later on the European colonizers, most of them started opting for tailored blouses, cholis and petticoats.
Traditionally, especially in ancient times, we Indians mostly wore untailored clothes. Let’s understand it better.
What is the men’s traditional attire in India?
Kurta Pajama? No.
Dhoti Kurta? Not Kurta, but Dhoti is.
So yes, Dhoti and Angvastra are the traditional attire of Indian men (typically). Dhoti is a cloth sheet draped as a lower garment. While, Angvastra is a sheet of cloth wrapped as the upper garment. Angvastra is also called Angocha in local language. Look at the pictures on religious texts and sculptures in ancient temples. There you get the answer.
My suggestion is, if you want to know the real history of India, stop knowing it from TV serials. They cook half of the history, and ancient clothing is just an excuse for the actors to show their six pack abs and how well they’ve sculpted themselves at the gyms.
What is the difference between a dhoti and a saree?
In a nutshell, we can get one thing clear, saree and dhoti have come from the same ancestor.
Here, you must understand what is the difference between a dhoti and a saree. A dhoti worn by a woman can be a saree nevertheless. But, most of the sarees women wear today are a product of evolution from dhoti. Earlier, women used to wear saree (or dhoti) to cover their bodies. These days, their bodies are already covered with blouse and petticoat, above which they drape the sarees. Unlike dhotis, many sarees have prints and embroideries. Fall is sewn at the bottom of a saree to prevent it from getting torn. In earlier times, women wore plain sarees and their main emphasis was on wearing jewelry, if they wished to adorn themselves (that too real, not artificial or oxidized, like of modern times). Even today, Indian women collectively have more gold than various central banks of various countries across the world.
Thus, if we imagine the clothing of men and women of ancient India, it must have been the similar cloth but styled in different manners.
UPDATE (19-08-2021) : Some questions which were frequently asked in the comments.
What was Ranga’s age in Ranga’s Marriage?
There has been no mention of Ranga’s age in the chapter, Ranga’s marriage. However, we can make some attempts at guessing, predicting or calculating the age of Ranga.
Usually, parents send there children to different cities for higher education or after matriculation. Especially in those times, the villagers didn’t have enough funds for the entire education of their children. So, they got them their primary education from local or nearby schools and for higher and distinct education, they sent them away.
And, in many cases of the history, where men were well educated; they used to be adults. With this regard, we can interpret that Ranga’s age is no less than twenty.
Also, his age is in no way greater than thirty, since an officer, to whom he accorded great respect and also who got married six months before his arrival to Hosahalli; was thirty then, while his wife being twenty six years old. Giving the example of the couple, he concludes that a man should marry a woman he loves. From this, we can interpret that the couple’s was a love marriage. This implies, that both were from the same social circle. Further, chances might be, that Ranga was also a part of that circle.
What social issues are portrayed in Ranga’s Marriage?
The social issue portrayed is, the prevalence of child marriage in pre-independence rural India. Further, how, even the mind of a well educated man was manipulated to provoke him to marry an eleven year old girl.
UPDATE (23-09-2021): What is the moral of Ranga’s Marriage?
The moral is that age difference doesn’t matter in love. As per the story, it doesn’t matter to the narrator whether Ratna meets the criteria set by Ranga for his future bride or if both of them have given an informed consent.
Why Am I Talking About This?
UPDATE (05-09-2021): What response is expected from the schools?
I’m extremely thankful to my school’s English teachers who’re straightforward while teaching. And yes, I’m making this update on Teacher’s Day. Had they not supported my expression, I wouldn’t have come this far.
CBSE, NCERT or other educational boards can come up with anything in their textbooks. However, if any school or institution or its faculty find anything wrong about it, they’ve the power to take action. They have the power to forward the message to the necessary boards. Even if the boards do not agree, they can cut such chapters from the internal examinations. When more people support the right and protest the wrong, the right action is taken by the responsible authorities.
All the teachers must promote the opinions and expression from their students regardless of what is mainstream.
(UPDATE: 5-11-2021) Answers to another set of frequently asked questions about Ranga’s Marriage.
Questions about this story never cease to exist. So far, I’ve written more about this story than the author himself. Every now and then, I keep on exploring it. You keep on asking, I’ll keep on answering.
Note: This is not supposed to be any source or extension of academic support. The content is for your understanding.
What does the narrator say about Hosahalli?
It is worth knowing how does Shyama (the narrator) speaks of his village. The narrator uses analogies to tell the readers about the significance of Hosahalli. He writes that what the state of Mysore is to the Bharatvarsha, the sweet Karigadabu is to the festive meal; similarly, Hosahalli is to the state of Mysore as what is the filling is to the Karigadabu sweet.
The narrator also writes about the quality of the mangoes that grow on some of the mango trees of the village. They’re extremely sour. He recounts an incident, where they ate the chutney made of those mangoes and suffered a terrible cough there on.
Finally, he also tells about a creeper growing on in the village pond whose leaves were used by the villagers to serve their meals.
Why is the village Hosahalli unknown to the world according to the narrator?
The narrator described in the story that the Englishmen were not familiar with the remote locations of the country. Following this, the urban Indian population apes them blindly. Hence, even Indian geographers did not mention anything about Hosahalli anywhere. Because of this, no cartographer recorded Hosahalli in any map.
After reading “Ranga’s marriage”, who (according to you) played a major role in Ranga and Ratna’s marriage?
No doubt, Shyama, the narrator, played a great role in fixing a marriage between Ranga and Ratna. He asked Ratna to fetch milk from his home while he had already called on Ranga alongside. He also taught the Shastri about what he should say.
How did Ranga come to see Ratna? What was the result of the first encounter of Ranga?
Shyama told Rama Rao that he would give him buttermilk which Ratna can come on Friday to fetch from his home. On the other hand, he also called Ranga. Ratna came wearing a saree and on Shyama’s request started singing the song ‘Krishnamurty, in front of my eyes‘.
As soon as Ranga appeared on the threshold, Ratna grew shy of him. This event wooed Ranga’s mind.
What kind of a person is the narrator of the chapter “Ranga’s marriage”?
Shyama was a clever yet a benevolent person of the story who knew how to do and get things done. He played a major role in fixing a marriage between Ranga and Ratna. He was also somewhat a fatherly figure to both.
How does the narrator speak of ranga’s character?
Based on Ranga’s belief system, narrator speaks that he feels sorry that a man who can be a good husband has decided to remain a bachelor.
Why did the narrator (Shyama) call Ranga and Ratna a childish couple?
The narrator called Ranga and Ratna a childish couple because they kept their son’s name Shyama after him. The narrator knew that as per the English customs, parents keep their children’s names after the people they like and love. This might also be possible because, Ratna was a child bride.
Ranga’s Marriage: Putting it in the context of 2022
It was important for me to share my opinion about the latest issue that the age bar of women for marriage has been raised from 18 to 21. And that too, without any reason.
I strongly disagree with such a law. This is because, 18 is an age of consent. If a woman can drink, smoke, vote, indulge in an intercourse, get into a live-in relationship, then what is actually wrong with a marriage?
Let’s put science here. Fertility levels of women are at peaks in the age ranges of 18-25.
Would it encourage more women to pursue higher education?
Yes, we should promote education , but not force it on anyone. If any person is not interested in going to college, we should not create any issue about it.
There are many parents who educate their children by making both ends meet, but it is not of their caliber to afford higher education. Who would help them?
There are women who actually want to marry young.
This law would be less helpful in stopping forced marriages, but in the long run, it would prove to be a coercion of not marrying when you want.
What would be the implications?
Way serious than we can imagine. All the activities which are illegitimate to be committed before marriage would be normalized. Abortions would be promoted. And this is sufficient to prove, where we are heading to.
We are already witnessing how the dating culture is hollowing up our traditional values. Young men and women are having the lowest fertility levels of the history. They’re the least emotional because of considering too many options. And dating among teens is a dirty pick and ditch thing.
Many parents, finding their child indulging in any relationship, ask them to get engaged so as to be serious about it. This is about adding legitimacy to the relation.
What should be done?
Either, the legal marriage age should be reduced to 18 or if it is maintained at 21 ; then the age for conjugal consent and explicit content should also be limited up to that limit, so as to protect the society. We should neither promote nor support Degeneracy at any rate.
What is wrong about child marriage and what is not?
Many of our ancestors married in their teenagers and were healthy parents. Hence, if they are healthy, the biological excuse doesn’t make sense.
Talking about those who married in early childhood, they did not consummate their marriages before they reached puberty. A ritual of Gauna was observed then.
There are still many countries (even developed) where under 18 marriages are allowed. Even in India, until 1978, the Act allowed the minimum age of women for marriage as 15 and for men as 18.
Christians, Jews and Muslims can still marry at puberty. You can read their individual laws regarding marriages.
Hence, our ancestors can not be labelled as pedophiles. We have sufficient evidences that they educated their children as well.
What should be done to protect children from degeneracy?
We need to bring some serious revolution to our education system first things first. Our education system teaches trash to children and the biggest of all, it glorifies the invaders and their culture. Once children reach the teenage, they start committing themselves in relationship.
Separate schools for boys and girls
What we can do is that we can have separate schools for boys and girls. Many people are brainwashed into thinking that co-ed schooling is modernity. Really? Now count the benefits it offers or the differences it makes.
We need equality in Genders, but it doesn’t mean shifting from polarity. Polarity is equally important. With schools and colleges for men, we would have stronger and more masculine men. With schools and colleges solely for women, we would have responsible and graceful women. Further, we can save the children from lusts and desires at an early age.
Even if we don’t implement it in colleges, we can do it at least in schools. They’re too young to make their life decisions.
Absolute Authority of Parents
Parents are the one who should have the absolute authority of their children. No college, school or teacher should have more authority over the lives of children than their parents. Whoever, takes the authority of the parents makes the child suffer.
I can personally testify this. Many young boys and girls cry ‘freedom’ when their parents put restrictions on them, but wouldn’t mind being dominated or restricted by their boyfriends, girlfriends or spouses. Who would have a better hold of them? You tell me.
If parents have authority, they can stand up for their children against the abuse by the school, teacher or any other person. Who, in the absence of parents can do this effectively. Siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts or any other guardian can do this, but they have their own lives to be selfish about even if they’re majorly concerned about that particular child. They cannot offer their cent per cent.
We have so many issues where parents need to stand up today. Trash stuff is being forced into the minds of young ones, they’re getting into relationships, catching wrong habits or are facing certain issues.
With a big authority being put on the shoulders of parents, they must also be responsible enough. Rather than being ignorant or lazy watching TV, they should be their ward’s ideal.
I was not allowed to hang out, eat fast food or go travelling when I was in school. Today, I’m thankful, because this was by my parents. I do not have any habit of eating junk food, wake up early and have rituals to follow. I don’t go just anywhere out there, I have some priorities.
I don’t find a point where the Macaulay’s education system is leading us. A distant cousin of mine commented that the so called ‘modern’ education has brought development to India. I asked her, “Sister, wow! The Macaulay education system brought development? You must have developed an aircraft while you were in school. Show me.” Her facial expressions were worth noticing.
There is nothing concrete that the modern education system has given us. Talking about development, we already were developed.
Even after this, you want development, you can have this in your college time. In the school level education system, there’s nothing scientific. Or the modern educations subjects can be adjusted in a traditional school.
I know a brahmin boy four years younger than me and he is such a prodigy. He speaks Dharapravah Sanskrit and Native Hindi. Alongside, he knows English as well. Not just this, he is a brilliant science and vedic maths scholar. All this, while studying in a Gurukul. Students of a Gurukul are way more talented.
There’s an entire system of Vangmay in Sanskrit.