FREE IGNOU MEG 14 Solved Assignment 2023-24 | MA ENGLISH 2nd year

 FREE IGNOU MEG 14 Solved Assignment 2023-24 | MA ENGLISH 2nd year

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FREE IGNOU MEG 14 Solved Assignment 2023-24

IGNOU FREE MEG 14 Contemporary Indian Literature In English Solved Assignment 2023-24

Q1. What is the role of two major Sanskrit epics in the construction of Indian culture?

The two major Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, play a pivotal role in the construction and shaping of Indian culture. These ancient literary masterpieces not only serve as significant religious texts but also serve as cultural, moral, and philosophical guideposts for millions of people across the Indian subcontinent. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are not merely stories; they are repositories of wisdom, ethical dilemmas, and profound insights into human nature. In this exploration, we delve into the multifaceted roles these epics play in the construction of Indian culture.

First and foremost, the epics are foundational to the religious fabric of India. The Ramayana, attributed to the sage Valmiki, narrates the life of Lord Rama, an incarnation of the god Vishnu, and his quest to rescue his wife Sita from the demon king Ravana. The Mahabharata, traditionally ascribed to the sage Vyasa, revolves around the Kurukshetra War and includes the Bhagavad Gita, a sacred dialogue between Prince Arjuna and Lord Krishna. These narratives are not just stories of gods and heroes but are deeply embedded in the religious consciousness of Hindus. The characters in these epics are revered as symbols of righteousness, virtue, and divine intervention.

Moreover, the epics serve as moral and ethical guides for individuals and society at large. The Ramayana, with its emphasis on dharma (righteous duty), presents Rama as the ideal king and husband. The Mahabharata, on the other hand, delves into the complexities of dharma through the dilemmas faced by its characters, such as Arjuna's moral crisis on the battlefield. These ethical dilemmas and discussions on righteous conduct offer a moral compass for individuals navigating the complexities of life. The epics provide a rich tapestry of values, illustrating the consequences of moral lapses and the rewards of virtuous living.

Furthermore, the epics contribute significantly to the cultural identity of India. They are not limited to religious sanctity but are integral to various art forms, including literature, dance, music, and theater. The retelling of these epics has been a continuous tradition, with each region and community adding its own nuances and interpretations. This diversity in retellings contributes to the richness and dynamism of Indian culture. The characters, themes, and moral lessons from the epics continue to inspire artistic expressions, fostering a cultural continuity that transcends time.

In addition to their religious and cultural significance, the epics provide a philosophical foundation for understanding the nature of existence and the human condition. The Bhagavad Gita, embedded within the Mahabharata, addresses profound philosophical questions related to duty, righteousness, and the path to spiritual realization. The teachings of Krishna to Arjuna offer insights into the concepts of karma (action), bhakti (devotion), and jnana (knowledge). The philosophical underpinnings of the epics have influenced various schools of thought in India, contributing to the development of Hindu philosophy and shaping the intellectual landscape of the subcontinent.

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata also play a role in fostering a sense of unity and shared identity among diverse communities in India. Despite regional and linguistic variations, the epics serve as common cultural touchstones that bind people together. Festivals, rituals, and performances centered around these epics provide a platform for communal celebration and a shared cultural experience. This shared cultural heritage reinforces a sense of belonging and contributes to the idea of a pluralistic yet unified Indian identity.

In conclusion, the role of the two major Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, in the construction of Indian culture is multi-faceted and profound. These epics are not only religious scriptures but also moral guides, cultural repositories, and philosophical treatises. They have shaped the values, art, philosophy, and cultural identity of India, providing a timeless foundation for the understanding of life and the human experience. The enduring relevance of these epics is a testament to their enduring impact on the collective consciousness of the Indian subcontinent.


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Q2. Which character(s) do you like the most in the novel “Samskara”? Why?

"Samskara" is a novel written by U. R. Ananthamurthy, a prominent Indian writer in the Kannada language. The novel, published in 1965, is a significant work in Indian literature, exploring themes of tradition, morality, and societal change. The characters in "Samskara" are complex and reflect the intricacies of human nature within a specific cultural and social context. While personal preferences regarding characters can vary, two characters that often stand out for readers are Praneshacharya and Chandri.

Praneshacharya, the central character of "Samskara," is a learned and devout Brahmin priest living in the fictional village of Durvasapura. He represents the traditional values deeply rooted in Hindu orthodoxy. His commitment to his dharma (duty) and the rituals associated with it defines his character. Praneshacharya's internal struggle becomes a focal point of the novel as he grapples with moral dilemmas and questions of personal conduct. His internal conflicts are reflective of the broader societal changes occurring around him, challenging traditional norms and values.

Praneshacharya's complexity lies in his sincere attempt to uphold the orthodoxy and his increasing awareness of the changing world. His internal turmoil and the moral crisis he faces when confronted with the corpse of a lower-caste woman challenge the very foundations of his beliefs. As readers, we are drawn to Praneshacharya's character because of the depth of his introspection and the universality of the themes he grapples with. His character invites contemplation on the tension between tradition and modernity, individual desires and societal expectations, making him a compelling and thought-provoking protagonist.

Chandri, another character in "Samskara," stands in stark contrast to Praneshacharya. She represents the changing social order and the erosion of traditional values. Chandri is a woman who challenges the prescribed norms for women in her community. Her rejection of traditional roles and her unapologetic pursuit of personal freedom make her character both intriguing and revolutionary in the context of the novel's setting. Chandri's interactions with Praneshacharya highlight the clash between the old and the new, tradition and modernity.

Chandri's character appeals to readers who appreciate narratives that challenge societal norms and explore the agency of individuals, especially women, in conservative societies. Her defiance and determination to live life on her own terms, despite the societal consequences, add layers of complexity to the novel. Through Chandri, Ananthamurthy explores the changing dynamics of gender roles and the impact of such changes on the traditional fabric of society.

The contrasting nature of Praneshacharya and Chandri's characters creates a dynamic tension that propels the narrative forward. Readers may find themselves drawn to the interplay between these two characters as they navigate a world in flux. The choices and struggles of Praneshacharya and Chandri serve as a microcosm for the broader societal shifts depicted in the novel.

In conclusion, the characters of Praneshacharya and Chandri in "Samskara" offer readers a nuanced exploration of tradition and modernity, duty and desire, and the evolving societal landscape. Praneshacharya's internal conflict and Chandri's defiance provide a rich tapestry of human experiences that resonate beyond the specific cultural and temporal setting of the novel. The depth of characterization and the exploration of complex themes make both characters compelling in their own right, appealing to readers interested in narratives that grapple with the complexities of human nature and societal change.

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Q3. Do any of the character(s) surprise you at any stage in the novel ‘Tamas”? Who are they?

"Tamas," a novel by Bhisham Sahni, is a powerful narrative set against the backdrop of religious and communal tension during the partition of India in 1947. The characters in the novel are deeply affected by the societal upheaval, and their actions are often driven by fear, prejudice, and the chaos of the times. Several characters in "Tamas" undergo surprising transformations or revelations as the story unfolds.

One character who undergoes a significant transformation is Nathu, the protagonist of the novel. Nathu, initially portrayed as a somewhat naive and innocent person, becomes the central figure in a tragic event that sparks communal violence. His actions and the consequences that follow reveal the complexity of human nature when faced with fear and survival instincts. Nathu's evolution from a seemingly ordinary individual to a symbol of communal tension surprises the reader, showcasing how ordinary people can be pushed to extreme actions under the influence of communal hatred and fear.

Another character who surprises the reader is Juggut Singh, a powerful and influential figure in the village. Initially presented as a charismatic and assertive leader, Juggut Singh's actions take an unexpected turn as the communal tensions escalate. His decision to align with the forces that thrive on hatred and violence, rather than acting as a peacemaker, surprises the reader. Juggut Singh's transformation serves as a commentary on the fragility of moral values in times of societal chaos and the capacity of power to corrupt individuals.

The character of Bhola, a simple-minded and loyal man, also undergoes surprising changes in the novel. Bhola's allegiance shifts based on the changing dynamics in the village. His susceptibility to manipulation by those in power highlights the vulnerability of individuals who may not fully grasp the complexities of the political and social forces at play. Bhola's surprising decisions contribute to the overall atmosphere of unpredictability and chaos in the narrative.

Additionally, the character of Hukum Chand, a British colonial officer, surprises the reader with his moral dilemmas and internal conflicts. As the representative of the colonial authority, Hukum Chand is torn between his duty to maintain order and the realization that the situation is spiraling out of control. His struggle to navigate the ethical challenges posed by the communal violence challenges the conventional portrayal of colonial officials, adding layers of complexity to his character.

The character of Imamdin, the village mullah, also undergoes surprising developments in the novel. Initially presented as a religious figure advocating for peace and harmony, Imamdin's actions and choices take unexpected turns. His interactions with various characters and the decisions he makes in the face of communal tension raise questions about the role of religious leaders in times of crisis and the impact of religious identity on individual choices.

Furthermore, the character of Sharmila, a young girl, surprises the reader with her resilience and courage in the face of adversity. As the daughter of a prostitute, Sharmila faces societal prejudice, yet her determination to survive and protect her family showcases the strength of character in the midst of chaos. Sharmila's narrative arc challenges stereotypes and offers a glimpse into the resilience of marginalized individuals during turbulent times.

In conclusion, "Tamas" is a novel filled with characters whose surprising transformations and actions contribute to the overall impact of the narrative. Nathu, Juggut Singh, Bhola, Hukum Chand, Imamdin, and Sharmila are just a few examples of characters whose complexities and unexpected choices add depth to the exploration of communal tensions during the partition of India. The novel masterfully captures the unpredictability of human behavior in the face of social and political upheaval, making it a compelling and thought-provoking work.


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Q4. Bring out the silver lining in the story “Birthday”.

"Birthday" is a short story written by Katharine Brush that explores the theme of human nature and societal expectations in the context of an ordinary man's birthday celebration. The story unfolds during a regular workday, and the protagonist, the unnamed husband, eagerly anticipates the celebration of his birthday. While the story primarily focuses on the mundane routine and the husband's desire for acknowledgment, there is a subtle silver lining that emerges through the narrative.

One of the silver linings in the story is the genuine affection and consideration displayed by the husband's colleagues. Despite the seemingly routine and impersonal atmosphere of the office, there is a collective effort to make the protagonist feel special on his birthday. Colleagues, who may not typically engage in personal conversations, take a moment to wish him well and share in the joy of the occasion. This highlights the innate human need for connection and the capacity of individuals to express kindness even in mundane settings.

The act of remembering and acknowledging the husband's birthday, though simple, underscores the significance of human relationships and the impact of small gestures in daily life. In the midst of a monotonous work environment, the husband's birthday becomes a catalyst for genuine human interaction, breaking the routine and fostering a sense of camaraderie among colleagues. This reflects the idea that even in the most ordinary moments, there exists the potential for shared joy and connection.

Furthermore, the story brings out the silver lining of the husband's own anticipation and enthusiasm for his birthday. Despite the routine nature of his life and the mundane activities that constitute his daily existence, the prospect of celebrating his birthday injects a sense of excitement and hope into his routine. This underscores the human capacity for finding joy in anticipation and the ability to derive happiness from simple pleasures.

The act of the colleagues gathering for a celebratory lunch, albeit brief, symbolizes the importance of communal experiences and shared moments of joy. In the midst of the ordinary workday, the birthday celebration serves as a reminder that life is not solely about individual pursuits but also about shared experiences and the bonds forged with others. The communal lunch becomes a silver lining by momentarily transcending the isolating aspects of daily life and fostering a sense of togetherness.

The story also hints at the silver lining of the husband's contentment with the modest celebration. Unlike elaborate or extravagant birthday celebrations, the husband takes joy in the simplicity of the occasion. His appreciation for the small but heartfelt gestures, such as the cake and the singing of "Happy Birthday," suggests that genuine happiness can be found in the unassuming and unpretentious moments of life. This theme echoes the idea that true fulfillment often lies in the ability to appreciate and derive joy from the present rather than constantly seeking grandiose or extravagant experiences.

Moreover, the story subtly underscores the importance of gratitude as a silver lining. The husband, despite the routine and perhaps unremarkable aspects of his life, is genuinely grateful for the attention and acknowledgment he receives on his birthday. This gratitude becomes a positive force that enhances his experience and contributes to a more positive outlook. The ability to find contentment and gratitude in simple moments becomes a silver lining that transforms the ordinary into something meaningful.

In conclusion, "Birthday" by Katharine Brush, while seemingly centered on the routine and mundane aspects of life, contains subtle silver linings that illuminate the human capacity for connection, joy in anticipation, appreciation for simplicity, the importance of communal experiences, and the transformative power of gratitude. These elements collectively contribute to a richer understanding of the story, emphasizing that even in the most ordinary moments, there exists the potential for silver linings that add depth and meaning to the human experience.


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Q5. Discuss the symbols in the story “The Empty Chest”.

"The Empty Chest" is a short story by Raja Rao that weaves together elements of Indian folklore and mythology. The narrative explores themes of identity, self-realization, and the search for meaning. Within the story, several symbols are employed to convey deeper layers of meaning and provide insight into the protagonist's journey. Let's delve into the significant symbols in "The Empty Chest."

The Empty Chest: The titular empty chest serves as a central symbol in the story, representing the void or emptiness that the protagonist, Ramanna, feels within himself. The chest, once filled with jewels, becomes a metaphor for the hollowness that arises from the absence of a true sense of identity and purpose. As Ramanna embarks on a quest to fill the chest, he is, in essence, on a journey to discover his true self and find meaning in his existence.

The Parrot: The parrot is another prominent symbol in the story, and its presence and absence are significant. When the parrot is alive, it serves as a source of companionship and guidance for Ramanna. However, its death marks a turning point in the narrative. The dead parrot can be interpreted as a symbol of the loss of innocence, the fleeting nature of life, and the inevitable encounters with mortality that shape the human experience.

The Moon: The moon is a recurring motif in the story, and it is associated with moments of reflection and illumination. As Ramanna gazes at the moon, he experiences a sense of tranquility and introspection. The moon becomes a symbol of self-awareness and enlightenment, guiding Ramanna on his journey towards self-realization.

The Forest: The forest is a symbolic space representing the unknown and the unconscious mind. When Ramanna ventures into the forest in search of jewels to fill the empty chest, it mirrors his exploration of the depths of his own psyche. The forest becomes a realm of self-discovery, challenges, and encounters with aspects of his identity that were previously concealed or ignored.

The Three Villages: The three villages that Ramanna encounters during his quest represent different stages of his journey. The first village symbolizes ignorance and a lack of self-awareness. The second village, where Ramanna learns about the empty chest, represents the initial awakening and realization of his inner void. The third village, where he confronts the sage and ultimately gains insight into the true nature of the chest, symbolizes the culmination of his quest for self-discovery.

The Sage: The sage, who reveals the truth about the empty chest to Ramanna, serves as a symbolic figure representing wisdom and spiritual guidance. The encounter with the sage marks a pivotal moment in Ramanna's journey, signifying the transition from ignorance to enlightenment. The sage imparts knowledge that transcends the material world and points towards a deeper understanding of existence.

The Mirror: The mirror in the story becomes a symbol of self-reflection and self-awareness. When Ramanna looks into the mirror, he confronts his own image and begins to question the nature of his identity. The mirror serves as a tool for introspection and a catalyst for the realization that the true jewels to fill the chest are not external possessions but internal virtues and self-awareness.

"The Empty Chest" employs rich symbolism to convey profound themes of self-discovery and the quest for meaning. Each symbol contributes to the layers of meaning within the narrative, guiding the reader through Ramanna's transformative journey from ignorance to enlightenment. The empty chest, the parrot, the moon, the forest, the villages, the sage, and the mirror collectively create a symbolic tapestry that enhances the depth and resonance of the story.

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