Monday, April 11, 2022

Summary of The Bull (One Act Play) by Bhimnidhi Tiwari | Class XII English Note (Exercise)

The Bull by Bhimnidhi Tiwari

Summary of The Bull (One Act Play) by Bhimnidhi Tiwari | Class XII English Note (Exercise)

Characters

Ranabahadur Shah- The king, 23 years

Laxminarayan Dahal (Jaisi)- Subedar with Samarjug Company, bichari of the Ita Chapali court, and bull doctor, around 40 years

Jitman- Cowherd

Gore- Cowherd

Summary

In his one-act play, 'The Bull', Bhimnidhi Tiwari dramatizes an incident related to Ranabhadhur Shah's craze for bulls to make a biting satire on the feudal system, which dehumanizes human beings to such an extent that their existence depends on their deferential treatment towards the four-footed animals like bulls.


The play takes place in the month of Ashwin in 1854 B.S. The two cowherds Gore and Jitman come to the house of Laxminarayan to inform about the death of the bull of the king Ranabahadur Shah. Now, Laxmi, Jitman and Gore are worried about the possible punishment from the king. He can even give them the death penalty. Laxmi is afraid of being shaved as the punishment. His mouth once was burnt for speaking with loud voice and moustache doesn't grow in that side.


According to the cowherds, the bull died because it didn’t get enough food and couldn't digest fine rice and soup of split gram. Laxmi tells the cowherds not to tell the king about the death of the bull or they will have terrible fate. Then, Laxmi goes to the Basantpur palace to inform about the ill health of the bull. Laxmi bows down to the king with reverence and informs him that the bull is ill. He doesn't directly tell that the bull has died.


Jitman and Gore are waiting desperately at the cowshed to hear the decision of the king. They even think they will be arrested and killed if they escape to save their life. The king approaches there. Laxmi runs ahead of the convoy at Thulo Gaucharan to tell the cowherds to massage the hind feet of the bull and wave the fan at the bull. They do accordingly. Laxmi tells the king that they had been caring the bull since midnight.


He says "the bull sir doesn't wake up and eat breakfast. He doesn't speak or move. He only stares with still eyes...". Laxmi praises the beauty, walking style and valiant fight of the bull. He proposes the bull to be taken to the hill for climate change and heal the health of the bull. Then the king himself wants to check the bull's condition and goes to the cowshed located at Thulo Gaucharn with a convoy on the palanquin.


In fact, the bull is lying dead on the mattress. It is neither breathing nor eating anything. Its tail has loosened and ears have drooped down. Yet, the cowherds and Laxmi cannot declare its death due to fear. The king himself says the bull is dead. After listening to the king, Jitman starts crying and says he has been an orphan after bull's death. The king declares a tip of 400 rupees and tells him to be quiet.


Gore also starts sobbing. He says he loves the bull more than his mother, father, wife and children. He says he will go with the bull or hang himself. The king declares the tip of 500 rupees. At last, Laxminarayan himself starts weeping and pretends to be in agony. The king scolds him and orders him to bury the bull and manage the funeral and give offerings to the priest himself. At last, Gore and Jitman express their happiness to be alive.


The play shows the then feudal society where ordinary human beings were dehumanized. Animals of the feudal lords deserved more respect than the ordinary people. It deals with the themes of dehumanization, servitude and subjugation.

Understanding the Text

a. Why have Gore and Jitman come to see Laxminarayan?

Gore and Jitman have come to see Laxminarayan to inform about the death of the bull of the king.

b. What, according to cowherds, is the reason behind the death of Male?

According to the cowherds the bull died because it didn’t get enough food and couldn’t digest fine rice and soup of split gram.

c. Why does Ranabahadur want to see the bull himself?

Ranabahadur wants to see the bull himself because he wants to check the bull’s condition and doesn’t want the bull to be taken to the hill if it gets cured at Thulo Gaucharn.

d. Why does Laxminarayan run ahead of the convoy at Thulo Gauchar?

Laxminarayan runs ahead of the convoy at Thulo Gaucharan to tell the cowherds to massage the hind feet of the bull and wave the fan at the bull to please the king.

e. Why do Gore and Jitman cry when the king declares that Male is dead?

When the king declares that the Male is dead, Gore and Jitman didn’t actually cry. They were rather pretending to be crying to have mercy of the king on them otherwise the king might punish them and blame them for the death of the bull.

f. How do we learn that the bull is dead?

We learn that the bull has died when the cowherds say the bull’s tail has loosened and eyes are still and the king also says, “The bull does not breathe, his tail has loosened, ears have drooped down, and doesn’t eat anything either.”

g. How does the play make a satire on the feudal system?

The feudal system dehumanized the ordinary people. Their life was at the mercy and grace of their lords. To save their life, they hid the truth and pretended something else. Animals of lords got more respect and facility than the common people. In this way, the play makes a satire on the feudal system.

Reference to the Context

a. Discuss the late eighteenth century Nepali society as portrayed in terms of the relation between the king and his subjects as portrayed in the play.

In the late eighteenth century in Nepal the Shah dynasty was ruling in Nepal. There was no much freedom for the people like today. People lived under the domination of the king and his men. Ordinary people's condition was worse than animals.


Even if someone didn't bow down to the lords with respect to the lords/kings, people were punished. There were no fundamental rights as we are enjoying today. People lacked political awareness. Women lived under the male domination. One could have as many wives as he wished like Laxminarayan in the play. Laxminarayan has 7 wives and still he is planning to marry another. Life of the people was at the mercy of the kings/lords.

b. What does the relation between Laxminarayan and his wives tell us about the society of that time? To what extent has Nepali society changed since then?

Laxminarayan is a bichari (legal officer) and bull doctor of the king Ranabahadur Shah. He is 40 years old. Having 7 wives, he is not satisfied and still he is planning to marry another. He calls his wives with derogatory names such as flat-nosed, beautiful, butterfly, swallow, ugly face, etc. From this, it can be guessed that women were suppressed and dominated. Polygamy was a common practice at that time. The main causes behind it were illiteracy, poverty, lack of awareness and feudal rule.


Todays’ society has more changed. Women’s awareness and literacy has increased significantly. They are not confined within the four walls of the house. They are capable of holding the highest positions of the country. Women have been given special rights and protection. Many NGOs and INGOs are advocating their rights.

c. How does Laxminarayan outsmart Ranabahaur Shah?

Laxminarayan is the bull doctor of the king Ranabahadur Shah. When the bull dies, Laxminarayan doesn't directly tell the death of the bull to the king because the king could be angry. He says the bull is ill. He orders the cowherds to massage and wave a fan at the bull to impress the king and save their life. The king thinks the bull died despite proper care and treatment just in front of him. In this way, Laxminarayan outsmarts the king Ranabahadur Shah.

d. Shed light on the practice of chakari as portrayed in the play. Have you noticed this practice in your society?

Chakari was the common practice during king's rule. Common people served and greeted the kings and their lords with great respect even if they did want to do it from their heart. In this play, Laxminarayn and two cowherds are doing the chakari of the king Ranabahadur Shah. They themselves sleep on the straw in the cowshed. They pretend to love the bull and massage the bull's feet, and wave the fan at the bull to please the king. They say ‘bull sir’ even to the animal.


Even today, we can see people doing chakari in several ways. Mainly, people do chakari of the political leaders. For getting the jobs and promotion in different posts, people go to the high level political leaders and even bribe them. At local levels, common people are found to be doing chakari of their leaders to get their favour.

e. Sketch the character of Laxminarayan.

Laxminarayan Dahal is a 40 year-old legal officer and bull doctor of the king Ranabadur Shah. He has 7 wives but he is not satisfied with them. He wants to marry another woman. When the bull of the king dies, he acts very smartly to save his and cowherds' lives from the king's punishment. He doesn't directly tell the news of the bull's death to the king. He is good at doing chakari of the king. So, he orders the cowherds to massage and wave fan at the dead bull to please the king. Due to his smart technique, their lives have been saved. In this way, we can say that Laxminarayan is capable enough to adjust, handle and act accordingly in the then context of servitude and flattery.

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