First performed in Bangalore in 1993 Mahesh Dittany’s play ‘Final Solutions’ foregrounds the Hindu-Muslim problems. In also tackles the theme of transferred resentments in the context of family relations. Alyque Padamsee says, directing Final Solutions in Mumbai. “As I see it. This is a play about transferred resentment. About looking for a scapegoat to hit out when we feel let down, humiliated. Taking out anger on your wife, children or servants is an old Indian custom- this is above all, a play about a family with its simmering under currents. (Dattani, 2000: 161).1 In 1998, Mahesh Dattani won the Sahitya Akademi award for his Final Solutions and other plays. This is a stage play in three acts. The play was first performed at Guru Nanak Bhawan, Bangalore on 10 July, 1993. The Play upon with Daksha reading from her dairy. An oil lamp converted to an electric one suggests that the period is the late 1940s. Daksha is the grandmother of the Gandhi’s. Who sometimes is seen as a girl of fifteen on the stage? Daksha thanks that she is “a young girl who does not matter to anyone outside her home”. (166).2 She says, “Last year in August, a terrible thing happened and that was freedom for India”. The most whispers : “Freedom! At last freedom!” Daksha close her diary and now Hardika appears on the stage. She feels the things have not changed that much. A period of forty years is not a long period for a nation. But on the stage, the drumbeat grows louder and the Chorus slowly wears the Hindu masks. The words spoken by Chorus show the beginning of disharmony and painful period ahead. As long as the persons are on the stage they are normal but as soon as they are behind the masks, their thirst for blood resist. Whether we are angry with someone or someone is angry with us each out burst takes its toll on both parties. The Chorus with Hindu masks burst with angry words. Chorus 1:The procession has passed through these lanes every year For Forty years! Chorus 2, 3:How dare they? Chorus 1, 2, 3:For forty years our chariot has moved through their mohallas Chorus 4, 5:What did they? Why did they today? Chorus 1:How dare they? Chorus 2, 3:They broke our rath. They broke our chariot. And felled our Gods! Chorus 1, 2, 3:This is our land! How dare they? Chorus 1:It is in their blood! Chorus 2, 3:It is in their blood to destroy Chorus 4:Why should they? Chorus 5:It could have been an accident. Chorus 2:The stone that hit our God was no accident! Chorus 3:The knife that slit the poojari’s stomach was no accident. Chorus 4, 5:Why should they? It could have been an accident (168).
Ramnik, the father carries with him the burden of the guilt of his father’s black deeds, transferring some of the resentment to his mother. Hardika, Aruna, his Wife and Smita, his daughter both hit on at each other for no apparent reason. The entire family is of course, putted again the back deep of a root. Tom City Zarine and the other guests from the post make an entry in the dramatic device that Dattani uses to show his time-shifts-Daksha, the young Hardika whose voice will resonate through the play inter weaving the post with present. The play now assumes a wholly different perspective even as the familial tensions continue within the home and are set off by communal tensions outside. The outside (Babban and Javed) is in a sense allowed entry, after severe resistance from within (Aruna and Hardika) and then begins the extortion of the fragile familial ties. Several scenes establish the bond between Aruna and Smita, with Ramnik, the father often being made to feel isolated. But with the instruction of Babban and Javed, Smita reveals her true sensibility and fees herself of the ‘stifling’ prejudices of her mother, at the same time trying to be fair to her. Ramnik, too has never revealed the guilt of the post of his mother, saving her the weight of the burden than he has had to carry all alone. The mob/chorus comprising five men and ten marks on stick five Hindu and five Muslim marks, is the omnipresent factor through out the play, crunching on the horseshoe shaped sump that dominates the space of the stage which is otherwise split up 4 into multilevel sets. The marks lie significantly strewn all over the ramp, to be worn when required. Dattani carefully uses the same five men in black to double for any given religious group when they assume the role of the mob, which they do in a stylized fashion. The living area is not furnished except for the realistic level that functions as the kitchen and the Pooja-room and another period room suggesting the 1940s where Hardika/Daksha are to revisit the past. The play infect begins with such a visit through the opening scene where Daksha sets beginning the process of recording lived history -Dear Dairy today is the first time I have dared to put my thoughts on your pages 31 March 1948- (166). Criss-crossing a whole gamut of memories that are to construct the character that she is to become- Hardika -After forty years – I opened my diary again. And I wrote. A dozen pages before. A dozen pages now. A young girl is childish scribble. An old women’s shaky scrawl. Yes, things have not changed that much,- (167) Things have indeed not changed much. The space of the stage is thick with ominous cries that reverberate and the same hatred and intolerance for the other still sents the air stones had come crashing down on Daksha’s records sheltering Shamshad Begum, Noorjahan, Suraiya, -Those beautiful voices. Cracked-” (167) like her friendship with Zarina. Forty years hence, her son Ramnik attempts to sight a few wrongs taking in Babban and Javed and protecting them against the fury of the mob & meanwhile, the audience witnesses the dialogic rational of both the sides -should we swallowed up? Till they can not recognize us? Should we melt into anonymity so they can not hound us? Lose ourselves in a shapeless man? Should we? Can we? (196) “What must we do? To become acceptable? Must we lose our identity? -oh what a curse it is to be losing in number!- (208) -Why did they stay? This is not their land. They have got what they wanted. So why stay? They stay to spy on us. Their hearts belong there. But they live on our land.- (176) and soon. Until the distinctive identities vanish in the ambiguity of the mask less mob asking for blood, a threat to all parties. The work of Frantz Fanon, the influential thinker on the effects of racism and colonization may be found relevant here. In his analysis of the struggle of the Algerian population against their French ### put forward the idea of photogenic (fanon:151). Where he explore how mechanisms of othering influence the self. How does phobia the irrational fear of the other, grip one’s mind? The inclination is to detach oneself from the other. Such a distancing is achieved through objectification reducing the other to on object upon which it is easy to inflict violence. At many places in the play Dattani would have us inflict pain on the other would be to look written oneself and recognize the fear for ### it is and hence resist the need to displace it. In the play Javed gives voice to the individual participating in such riots. -To short and scream like a child on the giant wheel in the carnival. The first screams one of pleasure of sensing an unusual freedom. And them – it becomes nightmarish as your world is way below and you are ### away from it-and suddenly you come crashing down and you want to get off. But you can not. You don’t want it any more. It is the same feeling over and over again. You scream with pain and horror but there is no one listening to you. Everyone is alone in their own cycles of joy and terror. The feelings come faster and faster and they confuse you with the blur created by them speed. You get nauseers and you cry to yourself why I am here? What am I doing here? The joyride gets our and you get off. And are never sure again- (204-5). At this point we could also consider the forcibility of competing versions of history and the tensions between different communities. While the hatred is all too real it is also true that brutality and compassion co-exist and give resonance to one another. The riots saw people a faulting each other. But they also jeopardized their own safety to save the others. With in these inteve and remove pressures of clashing cultures are embedded pressures of a different kind. Time and spaces merge and intermingle, as histories are relived. The mercenary gains that one party derives from the communal riots of the past is the baggage of guilt that Rammik has caused for long, this is revealed to a crushed Hardika, who seemed secure in her hatred of the other party, Sheltering her same of being in the right. It also explains the reasons for Ramnik’s extreme tolerance. The smug and often parsimonies Aruna is Shaken out of her compliancy through Smita’s out bur. St against her rigid and restrictive practices that have for long choked her. Dattani here manages to intricately interweave the individual strands of family identity into the larger picture. -It stifles me! Yes! I can see so clearly how wrong you are. You access me of running away from my religion. Would you have listened to me if I told you were wrong? Again, do two young boys make you so insecure? Come on, Mummy. This is a time for strength. I am so glad these two dripped in. We would have never spoken about what makes us so different from each other. We would have gone on living our lives with our pretty similarities. (211) The diminutive Smita suddenly gains stature and individual identity. Unafraid to speak up for what she thinks is right maintaining that she had kept her silence only to remain non-partison, to both her parents. So does the initially unassertive Bobby (Babban). Who hides behind a name that conceals the identity into which he was born, and with which he has always been uncomfortable. Playing the role of apace fest between Ramnik and Javed. Dattani does explore some existented angst here what, this? A sandalwood garland? When my father died i used to put fresh flowers everyday for a whole month-(takes a final look at his picture) so then’s it. That is how the world will remember me. Until my son locks me up in a trunk—“(487-88) -Now you are prowking me! How dare you blame your violence on other people? It is in you! You have violence in your mind. Your life is based on violence. Your faith is based-(He stops but it is too late) (Act Two) “Why did they stay”? “This is not their land”. Their hearts belong there. Print they live on our land”. “Drive them out”. “Kill the sons of swine”! (Act one) The title of Dattani’s play on communal violence and tensions in contemporary when India itself calls to attention. The apparent evsolulrility of this situation. Dattani interestingly sticks to the plural-‘solutions’ which implicitly undermines the pooril### of the meaning of the first word- ‘final’. Are there any solutions ### for a cycle of violence. Which has continued in some form on the other even since most of us can remember? Is any final solutions horrible at all? When each community section clan of our society has its own solution to the crisis? It is indeed this very search for the final solution. Which in many ways perpetuates the cycle of violence and hatred. The other interesting thing about idea that there are as many solutions as there are realities to choose from. Each one however turns out to be temporary. Final solution was actually commissioned before the destruction of Babri Masjid in 1992, but was performed only the following year in 1993. Written and performed only the in a period of high torsion and violence in When India! We look back at this tech more than 10 years late in 2007. Reeling from the after math of the Gujaret carnage and the smaller ripples of violence since all can ask is ‘What has changed in more then a decade? Has anything changed at all? And the ### itself answers our question in the very fast scene -“Things have not changed that much” says Hardika reading her diary written 40 years before thinking back on the roots that exploded in 1947. When her father was killed. (Act one) Dattani places history as an active character in his play. Opening with the main figure of the Hardika as a young girl- then known as Daksha, the first scene shows us the wetting of history. Past and present are fused on stage through the figure of Daksha and Hardika. The play opens in fact with the young Daksha writing in her diary. This simple act, of a young girl creating a diary in order to use the fountain pen discarded by her father-in-law operates at varicres levels of representation unveiling the construction of history the manipulation that all written texts including allegedly personal ones go through. -Dear diary. Today is the first time I have dared put my thoughts on your pages? (Thinking for a while) Today? How will people know when today was a hundred years from now? (Picking up a pen and scarifying). (Reading out) March 31st 1948. Dear diary today is the first day I have dared put my thoughts on your page. (again thinking)well the real reason is that today is the first time I am using a fountain pen and I have to write something with it. Print I do not think the whole world has to know that. (Again reading) I am sharing my innermost thoughts with you. Nobody else knows what I think or how I feel except now you. (Squinting to read the next time). I am sure that my handwriting will improve with some practice. Also I am used to this fountain pen. It is old and discarded by my father-in-law. The ink comes out too thickly. And so far I have written only with a copy pencil. (Picking up her pen and striking off that live muttering to herself). There is no need to be that honest- (Act one) Daksha’s diary establishes the history of division the serve of -us and them’. The link between personal experience and political belief/social hatred. A communal riot is invoked in the very first scene of the play a riot in which Daksha’s father was pilled a riot which firmly creates for Daksha the them -that night in Hussainabad In our ancestral house- When I heard then outside-I knew that they were thinking the same of us”. (Act one) History is present trenchant the action of the play. Sometimes repeating itself directly through statement made by Daksha/Hardika some times indirectly through situations of violence which have been enacted before and are all to frightening fanubor. History is also evoked and used by almost every character on stage as a justification/rationale/excuse for each fresh out break of violence. This justification may be overt by political overt by personal or thinly disguised between the two. Dattani’s characters also each have their own justification their own rationale for their actions. Daksha (now the grandmother) hates Muslims because her father was killed a communal riot and because her overtones of friendship to Zarine a young Muslim girl were rejected after other communal riots that razed Zarine’s father’s shop, and which incidentally was bought by Daksha’s father-in-law. Javed, the young Muslim fundamentalist and member of a gang has long nursed resentment against the world because of the otherness and the deionization of his community and religious identity by the dominant community. Ramnik Gandhi, Daksha/Hardika is son is trying to atone for the sins committed by his father and grandfather and therefore is a conscious secularist. His wife, Aruna is an ordinary devout Hindu Woman/Wife/Mother/Daughter-in-law, implacably sure of her place in the home, in society. Secure in her unquestioning faith and sense of right and wrong. There are also two other characters- Bobby (Babban) and Smita (Ramnik and Aruna’s daughter) who are oppressed by their own sense of history, and seem desperate to escape from its clutches, to leave behind the baggage of social, religious and communal identities that seem to dog them in all their relationships and actions. As each character in vokes history as an objective witness to justify their own sense of oppression and victimization, it is this very sense of an objective past that Dattani undermines. As has already been stated, in the act of re-writing her diary Daksha proves that history is constructed, and that the present is implicated in the ways in which we imagine our past. Reading from the diary written 40 years ago. Daksha/Hardika tells us abort the riots in which her father was killed, how and her mother took refuge from the flying stones in the Pooja room, and how her faith in God represented by the idol of Krishna was suddenly gone never to return. And as punishment for this loss of faith a stone thrown by the mob smashed all her gramophone records. Which she loved most. It was Daksha’s youth her culture represented through the records of Noor Jehan. Suraiya and Shamshad Begum that was smashed that night. And as Hardika remember we realize that 40 years on indeed things have not changed that much as the play has opened in the midst of another riot, and a curfew is on in the small town of Amargaon where the Gandhi’s live. The set design of the play emphasizes Dattani’s contention that the family unit represents society. The living space of the Gandhi family is shown through a barebones presentation with just wooden blocks for furniture (Act one). The only detailed sets are the kitchen and Pooja room. This is significant as really it is lonely through food habits and tattoos that we all draw the lines that separate us from each other. There is a close relationship between food habits and religious beliefs and the obvious other men of different communities is manifested through differences in what/how we and they eat. We also make sharp distinctions where food and food related utensils etc are concerned. Which perhaps serve to emphasis reparation in a uniquely distinctive and deferred manner? Taboos are most clearly expressed in our relatives through these two particularized spaces in Dattani’s sets the room for worship and the space where food is prepared. The sets also position the family signified by the home in relation to society which is represented through the Mob/Chows (five men and ten marks on sticks) who more or less encircle the Gandhi home. The representation of the younger Hardika (Daksha) takes place on another level thus ensuring in front of us and can not be forgotten. As the play opens and the riot is established the two young men sought by the mob are sieved as member of the other community’. ‘Naturally’ this immediately makes them a threat as the aggression of the Mob heightens to a dangerous pitch. In times of tension even ordinary object take on meaning become symbols of a religious identity and markers of other men as Bobby and Javed are revealed through a handkerchief knotted to go over a men’s head in lieu of a cap on other head covering. It can be argued that anyone may wear a handkerchief over their heads. However as the text establishes once the poison of communalism is in the air no rationalizing is possible. Ramnik Gandhi the secularist tries to assert a commonality in a conversation with his daughter’s friend’s father. “-You must visit us when you are in amargaon. Yes- Mr. Noor Ahmad, Mr. Noor Ahmad, I’m Ramnik Gandhi. I- (Distinctly speaking it crt) Ramnik Gandhi (making a joke of it). No relation to the father of the Nation of course. It is a common surname.-Why even in your own community-tells? (Act one) In this phone conversation he also makes it clear that despite not being overtly linked to the ‘Mob’ outside the idea of separation and difference is deeply enternalised with in most of us. A door separates the Gandhi family from the Mob outside and when Javed and Bobby knock on the Gandhi door seeking refuge Gandhi does save their lives and lets them in. Again however the action of the text undercuts the overt meanings of the secularist. As Ramnik lets the outsiders in his mother is thrown back into the post and all the injustices ever done to her are re-invoked. “Why did he do it? Oh G Why do I have to suffer? Did not he have any feelings for me? I just wanted them to be my friends. How could he let these people into my house? Oh I hate this world! They pilled his grandfather.(Act one) Aruna, unable to effectively stand up to her husband asserts her unquestioning belief in right/wrong if the men were being chased to be killed they must have done something wrong. This is a comfortable perspective from the center of society born of an assurance of security in being part of a dominant position is threatened that Aruna faces the insecurity of suddenly being de-centered of being part of a minority instead that this faith is Shaken. Rammik clearly acts of a personal motivation-his sense of guilt is the driving force behind his conscious and structwed liberalism which becomes opponent when he blurts out to Aruna.”I have to protect them’. I need to protect them”! I need to protect them” [Act one] The subtext is clear – the home/family/society/Nateori are firmly Hindu, the two young men literarily and metaphorically the outsides, the transgressors. The daughter, Smita is immediately sent inside to her room by her father, the tolerant insider who alone has the power to save the two men from the intolerant outside. The construction of the other is emphasized also by the obvious image of the sexual threats posed by the ‘other’- when Smita comes out of her room and greets the two by name, her entire family against is aghast. Ramnik despite his tolerant image is extremely uncomfortable by with the ideas of his daughter knowing the socially personally – Aruna :You-you know them? Smita :I know why they are. Ramnik:Why didn’t tell us? Smita :I was too confused. Hardika:Where did you meet them? In college? Smita (unsure) well yes Ramnik: when done that mean Aruna: Stop her studies! From now on she can stay at home! Ramnik: Where did you meet them? Smita: I told you. Hardika: But they are not from here. What were they doing in your college? Bobby: It’s all right. Let me tell you. Smita (angrily) No! Ramnik (sternly) For God’s sake! Tell us how you know these boys! (Act two) Ramnik only calms down when Smita tells him that she knows the two because Javed is her friend Tasneem’s brother and the Bobby is Tasneem’s fiance. As Smita says “Bobby comes to college quite often to meet Tasneem. She – they used to go out quite often… there is no harm in that. They are getting married any way. Ramnik No, there is no harm in that. (Act two) Where is there no harm? In Bobby going out with Tasneem because they are engaged? Or because he is involved with somebody from his own community and therefore safe? The question remains unanswered. Ramnik is a progressive secularist- not only does he save Javed and Bobby from the mob. He also forces his wife Aruna to serve them water a gestate she makes only when convinced that they would not actually drink it. After they do the contaminated glasses are picked up gingerly and kept separately from the other glasses in the kitchen. Ramnik also resents the alliance that Javed and Bobby built up in his home against him. Ramnik do not get so defensive 1st man (taken aback) I-. I am not being detersives. All I said was we are not thirsty. Ramnik: How dare you suddenly join forces? in my house. 1st man : I- I do not understand Ramnik you have finished college while your friend has dripped out of school. You made that destination very clear. 1stman only because we were being clubbed together unreasonably. But why do you feel I am being-.? Ramnik: you resented being clubbed together. 1st man: well I am not a college dropout. (Pause) well- yes I resented it. Ramnik: yet when you were uncertain-. abort there cepts on you would receive. you clubbed yourself together unreasonably. You spoke for the two of you. (Act one) Actually Ramnik also is conscious of the difference as is his wife the distinction between them however is that Aruna articulates this clearly from her security of being part of the dominant group while Ramnik tries to snappers his prejudice. It emerges however as it becomes clear that there is a very thin live between tolerance and prejudice. When one is conscious of a divide. When Ramnik speaks of ‘the trouble’ he immediately refers to the Muslim families that live in their galli. “They’ve never bothered us, until now”. Later, when he is told that Javed is looking for a job, he offers him one in his stop “You can handle these bohra and men and women who usually pen by our showroom you can stand outside and call them in; His guilt of the past surface directly. When he blurts out – -It will be give my pleasure to give that you. That shop is use to be- [Pause] take the tube. Please [Act Two] Ramnik’s actions and deed arise directly from the guilt he feels about the action commuted by his father and the grandfather. It was his family that has caused zarine is fathers shop to be burnt in scoots after which they bought it a friction of its coats. The ’emotive’ cause of those part ceular roots in there clearly lemertrared to be at least party ecerwini. Still not considering Javed is a simple a young man seeing him representative of those wavered by his ancestress Ramnik peewees that he is communal. in some ways as those on the other side ways of the door. and then he fund it only to easy to room the line between ‘Tolerance’ and fanaticism rerouting to the easy same startups that are circulated by there seeking to destroy. When it is discovered that Javed is one of those who were bought to be argon to Participate in the violence. In fact, to create the riots, Ramnik crosses that line between understanding and allocating flame. Ramnik; why do you destructs? Javed: Do you trust us? Ramnik: i don’t go around throwing stones Javed: But you do something more violent, you pworke: You make me through stones Everetime I take to you, my fight rises: Ramnik (angry), now you are provoking me? How done your flame your violence to other people? It is in you? You have violence in your mind. Your faith is based… (He stops but it is too late) [ Act two] Ramnik moves in single sentences, a single thought, from seeing the problem of violence as something could as solved by human understanding and compression, to an enidelluable, in hart truant in a whole community… anins allocable problem. Javed shows Ramnik that Ramnik is not as liberal as he would like to think of himself. as Daksha was shown by zarine that Daksha was not an in no sent as she thought of her self As long as we are silent as long we a accept that the majority does the mirrors a for our by tolerating then we participate in violence. Aruna tells the two men that they should be grateful that the grand her gave them shelter and Daksha felt that zarine should be grateful that she wanted to be Zarine’s friend. But friend ship and tolerance can not be bargained on asked for. Javed has a strong belief in himself and his own faith it is the belief that has laid him on the paths of violence, it is his refusal to be apologetic for who an what he is that makes him demand acceptance , if it is not given to him. He does realize that his faith is taken advantage of by those who will profit by the riots, and he also realizes that when it comes to violence, we are all equally guilty. Ramnik: you men that won’t arrest you? Javed: Arrest me? When they have been the other way all along? How do you think we got into the street? In their vans. They will arrest me. Don’t worry. To please people like you and a few innocent Muslim to people everyone. Ramnik: may be I should through you to the mole. Javed…. may be they aren’t being paid over not. And they attacked us? They are not very systematic. Next time they should have a round of introduction so we don’t killing each other? At least not unmentionably: Ha: you want to through me to the mole? I am a part of it. You have been protecting me from people like me. I’m no different from them. [Act three] An Unexpected Alliance in the play is that between Javed and Arena- they are both individual. Who have a strong belief? In their faith, in the thing of the shop their identities and their ideas a three slave’s family forced to realize the partition of the other, they are also forced to articulate to respect and tolerance. When smita clears her difference from her mother, and tells her that she does not shame her blue for her faith, Aruna is shattered even when so more Ramnik also his daughter why she his not articulated her feeling before, and smita tells him because it word have been a victory for him ever Arena suddenly, Aruna realizes the portion of an outsider. Smita; How easy it world have been to us for us to your forces and made her feel she was in the wrong. How easy to just push her over because you will have me telling her exidity what you wanted to tell her yourself to ‘Arena’ when would you have done? Shut yourself from us we would not have let you off so easily. We would’ve harmed you we wouldn’t have let you forget that the spirit of liberalism now in your blood and you were the oddity… you were the out sides. What would wappents you them? How weak and fused traded would you feet you do get what i men don’t you. Mummy? [Act Three]
It is this different prospective that makes Aruna actually change her stance on the ‘Outsiders’. She remains silent when Smita asks her to help with the felling of the water, or else ‘they’ will help. In this tacit stretching of the taboos. Aruna is changed but not crushed – she remains stead fast to her faith. But changes with the times ‘they’ an help with the general water but ‘not God’s vessel’ [Act Three] it is only Javed. The other believes who is able to recognize and accept Aruna’s portion. In fact, he tells her so – -you said the same thing to her. What I told Babban. You told her – you said you wouldn’t listen to her criticism because she was not proud of her-. What did you call it? Inheritance, I said religion. Same thing. I suppose [pause] we are not very different. You and me. We both feel pride. -[Act Three] when Smita hands him the -God’s Vessel’ to prove it wouldn’t fly off into the heaven when he touched it. Javed recoils and refuses to -fool around’ with it. Finally allowing the -other’ religion the respect they demanded for their own. Javed and aruna make an unexpected alliance in this text, offering one possible -final solution’. But how this is the live between respecting religion and denying another’s faith? Bobby and smita are another such pair – they are similar is that they both reject their communal identities – smita because she feels stifled -and bobby because he feels ashamed. This puts each of them in a weaker portion vis–vis the -other – Javed and Aruna. This however, is another -final solution’ – to deny any context to attempt to live on your own terms, to reject the past and any other social framework of identity and self formation. How possible is this solution? Smita rejects the possibility of relationship between her and bobby – -it was just one evening – a conversation that got a little personal. Nothing more-. [Act Three] When bobby asks her if that was a personal decision or one of convenience, Smita’s reply is that it was entirely personal -it is wonderful to know that the choice in yours to mala-. [Act Three] This may be a truly -humanist’ solution. But the entire text has consistently subverted the idea of a distinction between the personal and the public and decision that is based on -personal’ consideration is shown to be at least partly motivated by -the political’ and vice versa. These are not airtight categories as Dattani repeatedly reminds us, through the actions of Hardika, Javed and even Ramnik Gandhi. What then is the -final solution’? Is one even possible? Would at be better for us to stop trying to find the final answer and just try to make our own peace with ourselves and those around us? Is it possible to atom for the past? Can the personal be separated from the public? Is Aruna’s and Javed’s faith the answer? Or does the solution lie in the rejection of bobby and smita? In the last scene, bobby picks up the idol of Krishna from the pooja room in the Gandhi home and holds it in his hand. He defies Aruna’s cries and the anger of the Mob and arrests his faith in -humanity’. Bobby : See Javed : He doesn’t humiliate you. He doesn’t cringe from my touch. He welcomes the warmth of my hand. He feels me. And he welcomes it! I hold him who is sacred to them but, I do not commit sacrilege. [to Aruna] you can bathe him day and night, you can splash holy waters on him but you can not remove my touch from his form. You can not remove my smell with sandal paste and attars and fragrant flowers because it belongs to a human being who believes, and tolerates, and respects what other human being behave that is the strongest fragrance in the would! [Act Three] But this final solution may remain just another possibility. The very last scene, after bobby and Javed leave the Gandhi home, changed for ever, is still a bleak one. Ramnik finally tells his mother of the crime committed by his father – how they burnt the shop in the name of communal hatred. Because they wanted the shop. And when Hardika asks if the boys will come back – Ramnik’s answer is what remains with us – -if you call them they will come. But then again – if it’s too late – they may not.- [Act Three] As John McRae in -An introduction to the plays of Mahesh Dattani’ puts it -This is theatre at the cutting edge. Holding the mirror up to the secretary it depicts, showing- the form and pressure of time-. (Final Solution and other plays p. 11). This play deals with anti-fanaticism concerns – not only religious fanaticism but fanaticism in all walks of life. And appropriately enough, Dattani demonsters this by showing the various ways in which most people. Overtly or coverthy are party to acts of fanaticism and are responsible for a good deal of the conflicts that exist written society – be it at the macrocosmic level of the nation – state or even the microcosmic one of the family. Thus we have the fanaticism of the Hindus and the Muslims in Amargaon clashing during the -Rath yatra’ the fanaticism of daksna in law that present her friendship with Zarine from progressing (Dattani shatters the of toned with that music friend the barriers between people). The fanaticism of the older Daksha lie Hardika, Which is a rice chatting response to her Confinement, The fanaticism of Hardika daughter in law Arena who is the archetypal pious Hindu women and of course, the fanaticism of Javed that people him into journing forces with those who talked always talked about the mother land and fighting to save our faith- (p.374) contrasted with such fanaticism is the doubtful pacifism of Bobby, the shake liberalism Ramnik and the escapism of Smita Arising from share evidence. Such fanaticism is not only self-limiting for each of these individual but so also the primary cause for the barriers that are constructed between them and the longer would in this context if Daksha, Hardika Writing in her diary (Even though free fly) can diary seen as attempt to can front and negotiable with the reality faced by her, The play final solution can be meta thematically to imply the next- not even this dramatic script by Dattani – can preside any final solution/s to the audience. Prophase the solution lie of each with us – we all need to come to tern with our people preludes and find of our solution and Bobby did. The play can only serve an as awaking. In making the mob/ chairs when that does not have a singular identity but an easily inter changeable. One who you are depend on which face you put your Hindu Make or your Muslim mark, In making Daksha and Hardika merge into each other. Dattani Seek to show that through from may change; paramecia, hatred and fear prevail. All through play the mob/ chairs Remains on stage charted on still lie sad portion. The fires who compose their mob on chairs wear a make which is atop a stick held before them. There are five Hindu and five Muslim makes the play right feels, ideally they should be wearing black. They do not belong to any religion but become Hindu or Muslim depending upon the make they done. The symbolic velvets the makes, the sticks, the black cloth, are what blamers refers to as the -paraphernalia of ritual as slogans songs expire guests faster felling common identity sympathy written and ritual activity, such peripheries -acquires’ a sentimental liking the common feeling about the movement, there uses serves as a constant solving and reinforcement about these mutual feeling -such paraphernalia gerents a serves of self importance and provide one of the mean by which people who parts apache in such a dramas see themselves an playing and certain role more then the defamation of rules and emotional epode. Thus in act I when the chars. Wearing their Hindu make say that -the procession had proud through that lines/ Every year/ for forty year? (p.325) and that -for forty years our chariot has moved through their mohallas-. (p. 325). The procession and the chariot bearing the idols of the Gods are the symbolic paraphernalia used by the activists of Hinduism to reinforce their authority, the coercive authority of a power hungry -majority’ as Javed (and surely he is only a representative of his community, perceives it. Again, the -bell’ used by a neighbor for prayers in the incident narrated by Bobby that changed Javed life and transformed him from a have to a rebel out caste, the prayer bell used by Aruna towards the end of the play, the vessel that Aruna has earmarked for filling water to bathe the Gods – all these objects have an ingrained value to their possessors. Thus Dattani underlines that that though the power of a movement is ultimately the power of its collective of activists, the creation of that power is accomplished in no small measure by the use of ritual devices. But Dattani does not aim to be only descriptive on perspective. For he reveals how fragile are there -paraphernalia’ how easily they can be crushed and thus under mine the so-called power of the mighty. Because, the procession through forty years old can be easily disrupted – the chariots and the idols cab be broken. The bell that is like a signal of sacredness sent out by Javed’s Hindu neighbor cab be easily made perform by the meat and bones the own by Javed into his backyard. The poojari singing the bell loses his life to a knife wound. Smita offers the water vessel for the Gods to Javed – challenging her mother’s contention (and this when she is an obedient daughter) that outsides contaminate the purity of the water used for such a holy purpose. And of course Bobby is daring move at the end when he picks up the Hindu idol to prove. Yours God! My flesh is holding does not mind. He does not burn me to the ashes! He does not cry out from the heavens saying. He was been contaminated. (p. 399) A little later, he continues-. I hold him who is sacred to them, but I do not commit sacrilege (to Aruna) you can bathe him day and night, you can splash holy waters on Him but you can not remove my touch from his form. You can not remove my smell with fragrant flowers because it belongs to a human being who believes, and tolerates, and respects what other human beings believe. That is the strongest fragrance in the world. (p. 400) One of the most surviving way in which Dattani subverts the kind of rustic elements that are used by a body/an organization to garner legitimacy as well as to built loyalties is the way he contests the commemoration of Independence day. Dattani choruses the path of demy deification and so Daksha wants with cold and devastating clarity in her dairy. May be I should talk about more important things. Like last year in August a most terrible thing happened to our country. We – (trying hard to read her hand writing) – gained independence. You should have seen it. Everyone was awake wanting for midnight – like children on the last day of school, wanting for the last bell of the last class before vacation. And then rushing out and screaming and shouting and fighting-. (p. 323) Not only this Daksha consider it -a most terrible thing. Through Javed’s long narrative. Dattani carefully details the haws and whys of recruitment into a movement that sought to vanquish the Hindu night, by erasing? Its symbolic devices of power. Most political organizations indulge in the common practice of a ritual evocation of an emotional response within its initiates, to socialize them to the values and expectations that constitute the culture of organization. When Bobby tells Javed that it was only too evident to anyone that the people whom Javed had joined forces with were hired hood lumps. Javed unravels the process that snared him and blinded him to this fact. He says : -It is so clear, isn’t it? Anyone sitting at home, sipping tea and reading the newspapers, a minority would never start a riot, we are too afraid, that it had to be politically motivated. Try telling it to a thousand devotees swayed by their own religious forever. United of their fantasies of persecution, constantly reassuring themselves that this is their land by taking out procession (looking at Bobby). Anyone could tell not what he has his delusion as well. Delusions of velour and heroism. Of finding, a cause to give purpose to his existence -The time has come’ somebody would say -This is jehad – the holy war! It is written! -Yes! I would say -I am ready. I am prepared-. (p. 375) He speaks about his sense of belonging induced by the corentry liquor he consumes with his comrades and about how after sunset. Javed’s experience is not exceptional as -in the vans I was with several other youths like me’. (p. 376) It is this collective experience in fact, this bonding with the other youth who have undergone the same process of initiation as himself that keeps Javed attached to his group. Ritual far from always creating solidarity by reinforcing shared values, often produces solidarity in the absence of any commonality of beliefs. The provocative speeches that Javed, like his fellow recruits, is privy to, serve precisely this purpose of legitimizing the conceptual principals of the organization through its emotional impact. Javed – It was different when I used to attend their meetings. I was swayed by what now appears to me as cheep sentiment. They always talked about motherland and fighting to save our faith and how we should get four of theirs for everyone of ours. (p. 374) By showing how Javed, the rebel-fanatic is created, Dattani unpeels the manipulative power of ritual activities that engineer such constructions. Dattani also emphasizes that ritual binds people together, often by common action rather than common thought. Javed : I felt a stone in my hand. Bobby : They were giving him stones! Javed : I hit them hard with stones! Bobby : I couldn’t stop him! No one could. More people joined in throwing stones. Javed : And then I felt something else in my hand. Bobby : Oh no! He couldn’t. Javed : I had power. (p. 377) To retrace this arguments. Dattani asserts that while rituals can engender solidity, they can also be a handicap if an individual wishes to break free. In an almost poetic-turn of phrase. Javed describes this phenomenon. I had permission to do exactly what I had been asked not to do all my life! Raise my voice in protest. To shout and scream in protest, to shout and scream like a child on the giant wheel in a carnival. The first screams are of pleasure of sensing an unusual freedom. And then – it becomes nightmarish as your world is way below you and you are moving away from it – and suddenly you come crashing down and you want to get off. But you can’t. you don’t want it anymore. It is the same feeling repeated over and over again. You screen with pain and horror but there own cycles of joy and terror. The feelings come faster and faster till they confuse you with the blur created by their speed. You get nauseres and you cry to yourself -why am I here? What am I doing here? The joy ride gets over and you get off. And you are never sure again. [Pause] It is a terrible feeling being disillusioned. [Pause] Don’t we all have anger and frustration? Am I so unique? Now that I am alone, I hate myself. (p. 374) When Javed finds the knife thrust into his hand during the rath yatra procession. Thrust with murderous intent, he experiences that -terrible feeling’ he has described. And he backs off -I got nauseous and cried. -Why am I here? What am I doing here? GET ME OFF! WANT TO GET OFF! I was so close to him I could – I could have. I could-. I let go of the knife. (The Mob/Chorus stops humming). The knife fell to the ground. The joy ride was over. (Pause) I couldn’t hear noises anymore. I watched men fighting, distorted faces not making a round. And I watched someone pickup the knife and piece the poojari. I watched while people removed a part of the chariot as planned. The poojari fell to the ground. The carnival continued. (p. 378) What would be regarded as an act be betrayal or even cowardice on the part of Javed, is commended by Ramnik who observes. You are brave. Not everyone can get off. For some of us it is not even possible to escape. (p. 378) For Ramnik, Javed appears to be lucky as he can not himself escape from the sins of his forefathers whose crimes arising from communal hatred haunt and torture him. In her essay, -Final Solution’ Angelia Multani speaks of the set design of the play as emphasizing Dattani’s contention that the family unit recusants society-. Multani comments on the significance of the fact that only the kitchen and the pooja room are detailed as against the rest of the living space as- It is largely through food habits and taboos that we all draw the lines that separate us from each other. There is a close relationship between food habits and religious belief and the obvious -otherness’ of different communities is manifested through differences in what/how we and they eat. We also make sharp distinctions where food and food related utensils are concerned, which perhaps serves to emphasize separation in a uniquely distinctive and defined manner. Taboos are most clearly expressed is our realities through these two particularized spaces in Dattani’s sets – the room for worship and the space where the food is prepared. The sets also portion the family, signified by the home, in relation to society which is represented through the Mob/Chorus [five men and ten masks on sticks]. Which more or less encircle the Gandhi home? The representation of the younger Hardika [Daksha] takes place on another level, thus ensuring that the past always remains in front of us and can not be forgotten. The play -Final Solution’ begins with the silent introspective conversation of Daksha with her diary. Reflecting on the whole gamut of memories, examining the various course of events, she concludes, things have not changed that much-. (p. 167) with the recollections of independence, the memory flashes how a stone hit her gramophone table and the entire collection of records broken -Shamshad Begum, Noor Jehan, Suraiya-.- In the present, her consciousness is broken with the interruption of the sound of the members of chorus pouring out their aggression hatred and prejudice. Swayed by religious fanaticism and national prejudices, they are wild with contempt and revenge. One of them challenges- -This is our land-. The collective voice of their slogans becomes a part of a crescendo. There is chaos in voice, uncertainty of identity and lack of organization in action. Smita, the grand daughter anxiety for the safety of her Muslim friend Tasneem who had been trapped inside the hostel in bombing. Dattani represents two communities through the change of masks. This device of changing the mask is quite significant. Behind the mask each member of the chorus is a human being and here lies the roots of dramatic tension in the play -Final Solution’. The mob frenzy of Muslims is vitalized in the second appreance of mob/chorus. Sacrificing their humanity and religious faiths, they make a mockery of God and Goddesses. They have such comments, -Their God now prostrates before us- and ridicules with an indention of vengeance -Doesn’t their God have a warranty?- but in collective tone mentions, -We are neither idol makers nor breakers.- Ramnik, the son of Hardika in spite of his sympathy for Muslims, is not convinced by the ideology of Hardika. With his liberal and dynamic attitude, he tries to sustain the values of faith and human love beyond communal disharmony. He gives shelter to two Muslim boys Bobby and Javed and protects them from mob fury. Being in panic they are apprehensive of their own security. Two unidentified members of the chorus assault them; snatch their watch with out knowing their real identity and portion. The irrational fury of chorus let them no opportunity to reveal their identity. One of them doubts -something gives chase and some of their blows strike the two men who cry in pain. Ramnik Gandhi finally opens the gate and gives shelter to all of these two boys. Hardika’s conscience suspends and turns back to the past. Chorus even invades the house of Ramnik crying -throw them out, we’ll kill them.- The irrational and unorganized behavior of the crowd is the external manifestation of prejudice that admits no rational justification of human thought. The gestures, the actions, the dialogues are all well coordinated to express the fury of the mob in the frenzy to kill Bobby and Javed. Ramnik is determined, -I have to protect them! I need to protect them.- (p. 182) Dattani maintains the dramatic conflict and minutely records the reactions that are integrated in human pryche time and again, they erupt spontaneously chain of events. Hence action in the play moves not in isolation but takes within itself the invisible clash of motives that are more true to the real life experiences. Aruna provides water to Javed but holds the glasses with her thumbs and index fingers on the sides. Further she places the glass of Javed separate from other glasses. The chorus from the outside warns them to be aware of their moves and motives, -They will stab you in the back! They’ll rape your daughter – throw them out.- (p. 186) the hesitation of Aruna coordinates with the thoughts of mob and makes a pattern of religious frenzy. The play -Final Solution’ is divided in three acts. These three acts of drama mark a gradual development of action towards the solution. First act is the extortion, second is climax and the third is solution. In the second act, the social conflict merges in familial conflict. Smita, the daughter recognizes Javed and Bobby but her recognition of their identities, stirs a greater doubt and contempt in the mind of two. The consistently apprehensive mood of Aruna makes Javed irritates, -Thank you for your protection.- Hardika fails to tolerate them in her home. As soon as a stone is hurdled, she looks at the stone and shouts at Javed. If Aruna is prejudiced. Javed is also not free from prejudice and the idea of being different is rooted in his mind. Even without the interrogative of Hardika Javed replies, -Those are our own people.- The young Smita represents the dynamism of new generation and she behaves like the instruments of solution in the play. She is neither rebellious nor apprehensive. The third act in Final Solution can be appreciated as turning point in the play. Being disgusted with the apathy of Aruna, Javed admits that he is a professional -rioter’ and he is engaged in riots for the sake of money. Ramnik, who earlier offers him job, now doubts his intentions. Dattani through the cross examination of Javed and Ramnik tries to reflect on the roots of motive behind the passion for communal violence. Ramnik survives in conflicting situation, his external and internal self divides. Earlier he presents himself liberal minded but he is too governed by the passion for religions fanaticism. He also doubts on Javed and his doubt anguish then the infliction of rioters. He admits, -You would have let the mob kill me. And you wouldn’t have minded he had died as well. You don’t hate me for what I do or who I am. You hate me because I showed you that you are not as liberal as you think you are.- (p. 199) Dattani treads the ground that the real problem lies in the attitudes. In the present scenario of communal tension Hardika’s memory shifts to the past and she recalls her own past how she used to visit the place of Zarina, her friend. Simultaneously javed’s helplessness assumes the proportion of resentment leading to destructive anger. He cries out. -Don’t we all have anger and frustration? Am I so unique? Now that I am alone-. I hate myself. It was different when I used to attend the meetings. I was swayed by what now appears to me as cheep sentiments. They always tackled about motherland and fighting to save our faith and how we should get tour of their for everyone of ours.- (p. 205) It is not a question of society and community but of the identity of the individual Javed’s resentment is that every time, he is caught in suspicion and his best ententions are worst-treated. The different questions asked by chorus are the questions associated eternally with the national identity of the minority who have to take recourse to cornaival to protect their interest. In all vehemence, he interrogates- What must we do? To become more acceptable? Must we lose our identity? Is that what they want? Must we tolerate more? Does our future lie in their hands? Is there anyone more unsure more insecure than us, or what a curse, if is to be less in number.- (p. 208) In Final Solution, anger is not an expression of aggression but a method of selfdefence. Javed offers his services to Aruna and tries to help her by filling the bucket of water but it was of no avail. Aruna tries to maintain balance with her modesty but her broken and incomplete statements, signify the conflict of her mind how it was different for her to compromise with Javed. In spite of her apparent sympathy she says, -We don’t allow anyone to fill our drinking water. No outsider.- (p. 210) -We bath our God with it. If has to be pure. It must not be contaminated.- (p. 209) Smita is a foil to Aruna and she condemns the prejudice of her mother. She tolerates Javed and Bobby without any fear and doubt. Smita is the voice of true liberatism and irraticates her. She many not be a fundamentlist but is rigid and has no confidence to go beyond accepted ideologies. She is not ready to compromise with her sanskars. She accesses Smita. I shudder to think what will become of your children what kind of sanskar will you give them when you don’t have any yourself? It’s all very well to have progressive ideas. But are you progressing or are drifting? God knows, I don’t want all this violence – for so many generations we have preserved our sanskar because we believe it is the truth-. I shall uphold what I believe is the truth.- (p. 210) Smita, is confident that religion is a matter of personal faith and the conflict emerges out of prejudices. To sustain faith in religion. The power of soul is essential. Dattani through Smita establishes that no religion can serve without the acknowledgement of faith of others. The solution lies in the recognition of similarities and not in identification of differences and discrimination. She exhorts, -We would never have spoken about what makes us so different from each other. We should have gone on living our lives with our petty similarities. (p. 211) the fanaticism of her mother was a burden to the spirit of humanity and compassion. Smita in order to restore the right spirit of true faith does not even revolt against the monotonous and irrational arguments of her own mother. She challenges. I tolerated your prejudices only because you are my mother. May be, I should have told you earlier, but I am telling you now, I can’t bear it! Please don’t burden me anymore, I can’t take it. (p. 213) The burden of prejudice was unbearable not only for Smita but also for Javed and Bobby. Her enlightening arguments collectively contribute to take the action of the play towards a safe mooring. The issue of religion is associated with national identities, cultural identities and social identities. Smita seeks the solution of the problems in Indian ethics that teaches to respect all modes of religious creeds with an uncompromising spirit of tolerance. Dattani sustains the identical spirit in Final Solution. Smita’s anger shifts to her mother and she commands her, We would’ve horned you. We wouldn’t let you off so easily. We would have hounded you. We wouldn’t have let you forget that the spirit of liberalism ran in our blood and that you were the oddity – you were the outsider! What would have happen to you then? How weak and frustrated would you feel? You do get – what mean, don’t you mamma? (p. 214) She does not care for her personal sentiments for Bobby for the sake of her friend Tasneem. She puts water pot in the hand of Javed. It was only a method of inculcating a better confidence and faith in Javed. Dattani establishes that the love for humanity eliminates the dark shadows of prejudice. The solution lies not in external would but within man’s own consciousness. She confesses.- I wanted you to fill it. To prove that it is not going to fly off into the heavens with your touch, putting and external curse on our family.- (p. 218) she suddenly splashes water on Javed’s face and then on Bobby and all of three unite in a single laughter forming a chorus. Smita’s vision subsides the fury of Bobby and Javed and encourages Smita to conclude, -may be we should all run away from home like Javed- so we can quickly gulp in some fresh air and go back in.- (p. 219) they come back to home from ramp with new enlightenment. Smita propagates that through personal vision. One can sustain one’s individual freedom, freedom wherever one may by -but immediately Hardika reacts. You are foolish, to think you can create your freedom.- (p. 228) However, Bobby in order to break the ultimate shackles of blind orthodoxy determines to break the web of illusions. Images may be the matter of personal faith but not the ultimate realization of divinity. It is call of humanity that leads towards the realization of God. Bobby conquers his fury and becomes indifferent to the resentment of the mob and panic stricken reactions of Aruna. He proceeds towards the temple, picks up the image of Krishna and comes as a challenge to the fundamentalism of both Javed and Aruna, representing the two distinctive cults. The comprehensiveness of his vision. Encompasses fear, anxiety, insecurity and uncertainty if human sentiments. He fearlessly declares – See Javed! He doesn’t humiliate you. He doesn’t cringes from my touch. He welcomes the warmth of my hand. He feels me. And he welcomes it! I told him who is sacred to them, but I don’t commit sacrilege. (To Aruna) You can bath him day and night, you can splash holy water on him but can not remove my touch from his farms. You can not remove my smell with sandal paste and Altars and fragrant flowers because it belongs and tolerates and respects what other human beings believe – That is the strongest fragrance in the would. (p. 225) The convention of Bobby is a manifestation of Dattani’s own religious tolerance against the venom of communal violence. For Aruna, her own God is sacred but this sacredness depends on personal faith. Dattani presents his own remedy of communal violence through Bobby, -The tragedy is that there is too much that is sacred. But if we understand and believe in one another, nothing can be destroyed. And if you are willing to forget, I am willing to tolerate (p. 224). It is only the formula of forget and tolerate that can emancipate society that can eclpse stands on the edge of time with the perpetual question if one can really forget the bitterness of communal difference. Leaving the crowd on the ramp. She retires to her room with the desperate realization -and so those boys left. I still am not willing to forget. Days have passed since that night and not one of us has forgotten. One more memory? We dorit speak to each other. We move in silence.- (p. 225) The final revelation of Ramnik that remains hidden throughout the play is very significant from the point of view of dramatic presentation. The crises of resentment, anger and hatred is a continuous process in which no consolation is possible. What Ramnik was doing with Bobby and Javed was also an expression of anger what had already been done by his father. He survives with a sense of guilt that he wanted to compensate by providing jobs to Javed and Bobby. It is their shop. It is the same burnt shop we bought from them, at half its value an we burnt it. Your husband, my father. And his father. They had burnt it in the name of communal hatred. Because we wanted a shop-. I wanted to tell them that they are not the only ones who have destroyed, I just couldn’t. I don’t think. I have the face to tell anyone. It wasn’t false pride or arrogance. It was anger. (p. 226) In Final Solution. Dattani presents a socio-political issue with the vision of a part asks in the chain of events. Instead of taking the mechanical respond of the characters. He grips the two moil of emotions associated with them. The action is not imposed from outside but emerges from within and it is much assented to fill the higher conditions of drama. The integrated vehemence of passion, provides and additional force to action and the spontaneity of action bring it’s nearer to the real life conditions. Each character in the play struggles at two levels personal conventions and the commitments towards society. Smita with her liberalism and Aruna with her fundamentalism frame a suitable concepts to explore the roots of communal violence existing in Indian society. Aruna is not ready to forget and therefore, Smita is not ready to tolerate her. Ramnik, no doubt is a complex character but his life represents evolution to self realization and this realization restores a balance of emotions, an elevation of human pryche where individual consciousness becomes a part of whole. For a social issue. Dattani seeks a philosophical ground. Man eternally can’t escapes the burden of his own guild. All social and communal differences are generated out of individual difference and social apathy that has no rational ground. The use of chorus with mask is suggestive of Dattani’s affinity with the native tradition of drama. The change of mask by the members of chorus besides being a part of stage craft has profound relevance to declare divided consciousness of mob, in particular and humanity in general. It is only the mask that changes and behind the masks, there are human characters. It symbolizes that the awareness of communal disharmony and the passion for discrimination is only an external mask that covers the essential humanity that is -One’ and sublime. The characters roasted with hatred and violence appears only in the mask. The generorthy of Smita and the realization of Bobby is the only possible, -Final Solution- to save society from the clouds of disharmony and violence.