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BEGC-103: Indian Writing in English

BEGC-103: Indian Writing in English

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2023-24

If you are looking for BEGC-103 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Indian Writing in English, you have come to the right place. BEGC-103 solution on this page applies to 2023-24 session students studying in BAEGH courses of IGNOU.

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Assignment Code: BEGC-103/TMA/2023-24

Course Code: BEGC-103

Assignment Name: Indian Writing in English

Year: 2023-2024

Verification Status: Verified by Professor

Attempt all questions. All questions carry equal marks.

Q.I Explain the reference to the context of the following:

(i) With candles and lanterns.

Throwing giant scorpion shadows

On the sun-baked walls

They searched for him.

Ans) The given lines are from the poem "The Night of the Scorpion" by Nissim Ezekiel. In this poem, the speaker recounts a particular night when their mother was stung by a scorpion. The lines provide vivid imagery of the scene as the family, along with their neighbours, search for the scorpion, using candles and lanterns.

The poem is set in a rural Indian village, and the imagery of candles and lanterns suggests that the village lacks access to electric lighting, emphasizing its simplicity and traditional way of life. The use of these light sources in the darkness signifies the urgency and seriousness of the situation, as the scorpion's sting is a potentially life-threatening event.

The mention of "Throwing giant scorpion shadows" conveys the idea that the light sources cast ominous, distorted shadows on the sun-baked walls. This imagery highlights the fear and tension in the household as they search for the scorpion. The shadows evoke a sense of foreboding and unease, mirroring the anxiety of the family members.

The search for the scorpion symbolizes the collective efforts and solidarity of the community, as not only the family but also their neighbours are involved. This portrays the tight-knit nature of village life, where everyone comes together in times of crisis, emphasizing the sense of community and shared experiences.

The poem explores themes of superstition, fear, and the mysteries of life and death, capturing the essence of a traditional, rural Indian village. The reference to the search for the scorpion using candles and lanterns sets the scene for the dramatic events that follow, making the poem a poignant reflection on the complexities of human existence in the face of nature's unpredictability.

(ii) Fed on God for years

All her feasts were monotonous For the only dish was always God And the rest mere condiments.

Ans) In this poem, Kamala Das, a prominent Indian poet, explores the complexities of her relationship with God, her experiences with religion, and the sense of longing for something deeper and more fulfilling. To understand the context of these lines, it is essential to consider the broader themes and ideas in the poem.

Kamala Das, throughout her works, grapples with the intersection of religion and personal spirituality. In "In Love," she expresses her dissatisfaction with the conventional and institutionalized forms of religion. The lines "Fed on God for years / All her feasts were monotonous" suggest a weariness with traditional religious practices. She feels that her spiritual life has become stagnant and unfulfilling.

The phrase "All her feasts were monotonous" implies a lack of variety and excitement in her religious experiences. It signifies a routine, mechanical approach to faith. Her spiritual life has lost its vibrancy and become a repetitive, uninspiring ritual.

The reference to "For the only dish was always God" suggests that despite her disillusionment with religious practices, her core belief in God remains unshaken. She has been devout and dedicated to her faith, finding solace and sustenance in her relationship with God. However, the monotony of religious rituals has dulled the significance of this connection.

The lines "And the rest mere condiments" metaphorically portray the other aspects of her life as mere side dishes or trivial in comparison to her spiritual pursuit. Kamala Das conveys that her primary focus has been on God, relegating everything else to a secondary, less meaningful role. This reflects her deep spiritual quest and the singular importance she attaches to her relationship with the divine.

(iii) And afterwards we climbed a tree, she said,

Not very tall, but full of leaves

Like those of a fig tree,

And we were very innocent about it.

Ans) This poem is written by Agha Shahid Ali, a renowned Kashmiri-American poet known for his poignant and evocative poetry. The poem, set in the idyllic backdrop of Kashmir, is a nostalgic reminiscence of childhood innocence and the unique bond between cousins.

In this stanza, the speaker recounts a cherished memory from their childhood. The speaker and their cousin climbed a not-so-tall tree, rich with leaves, like a fig tree. The choice of the fig tree imagery is significant because it evokes an image of a lush, fruitful, and wholesome setting, mirroring the innocence of their youthful days.

The phrase "And we were very innocent about it" encapsulates the essence of the entire poem. It reflects a time when life was uncomplicated and pure, unburdened by the complexities of adulthood. The act of climbing the tree represents a simple, joyous, and unspoiled experience, highlighting the speaker's yearning for a return to that innocence. The poem is imbued with a sense of longing for the past and a desire to recapture the purity and delight of childhood.

"Looking for a Cousin on a Swing" is a poem that explores themes of nostalgia, the passage of time, and the loss of innocence. Through vivid imagery and the power of memory, the poet creates a poignant reflection on the transitory nature of life and the yearning for the uncomplicated happiness of childhood. The poem's context, set against the backdrop of the stunning Kashmir Valley, adds to the richness and depth of the emotions it conveys.

(iv) Some are purple a gold-flocked grey,

For her who has journeyed through life midway,

Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest

And cradled fair sons on the faithful breast

Ans) These lines are from Christina Rossetti's poem "In the Round Tower at Jhansi," and they refer to the colour and texture of a woman's garments. The poem is a reflection on the life and legacy of Rani Lakshmibai of Jhansi, a courageous queen who played a significant role in the Indian Rebellion of 1857.

In the context of these lines, the reference is to the attire worn by the queen. The mention of "Some are purple" and "gold-flocked grey" describes the varied colours and rich fabrics of the garments that Rani Lakshmibai wore during her life. Purple often symbolizes nobility, power, and regality, while "gold-flocked grey" suggests a combination of opulence (gold) and a more subdued colour (grey). These lines signify her stature and the different roles she played in her life.

The subsequent lines, "For her who has journeyed through life midway, / Whose hands have cherished, whose love has blest / And cradled fair sons on the faithful breast," further contextualize the reference. They suggest that the queen has experienced the different stages of life. She has journeyed through life "midway," indicating that she has reached a stage where she has had children, cherished, and loved them, and cared for them as a mother.

The mention of "cradled fair sons on the faithful breast" is a tribute to her maternal role. The "faithful breast" underscores the devotion and care with which she nurtured and raised her children, and the reference to "fair sons" implies that she was the mother of noble offspring.

These lines, within the broader context of the poem, celebrate Rani Lakshmibai's multifaceted life as a queen, mother, and symbol of resilience. The poem pays homage to her strength, grace, and contributions during a significant period in Indian history, the uprising against British colonial rule. The references to colour and attire help paint a vivid picture of her regal and maternal qualities, underlining her pivotal role in the events of her time.

Q.II Discuss the brief history of short story writing in English in India.

Ans) The history of short story writing in English in India is a rich and diverse tapestry that reflects the country's colonial past, its struggle for independence, and its socio-cultural milieu.

Early Beginnings:

The roots of English-language short story writing in India can be traced back to the 19th century during British colonial rule. British officers, civil servants, and missionaries stationed in India began to write short stories that often depicted the exotic and enigmatic aspects of Indian life. These stories were written for an audience in England and usually presented a skewed, Orientalist view of India.

Rabindranath Tagore:

The advent of Rabindranath Tagore marked a significant turning point. Tagore, an influential poet, playwright, and essayist, wrote short stories that offered a more authentic and nuanced portrayal of Indian life. His collection of short stories, "The Hungry Stones and Other Stories," was published in 1916 and is considered a landmark in the history of Indian short fiction. His stories explored the complexity of human relationships, the clash of tradition and modernity, and the spiritual essence of life in India.

Post-Independence Era:

After India gained independence in 1947, there was a surge in the production of English-language literature, including short stories. Indian writers began to grapple with issues related to the complexities of a newly formed nation, cultural identity, and social change. Prominent writers like R.K. Narayan, Ismat Chughtai, and Mulk Raj Anand contributed to this burgeoning literary landscape.

R.K. Narayan's "Malgudi Days" is a collection of short stories that became immensely popular and highlighted the charm and idiosyncrasies of Indian life. Ismat Chughtai's stories often challenged societal norms and explored themes related to gender, sexuality, and societal expectations. Mulk Raj Anand delved into the struggles of the marginalized and downtrodden in his stories.

The 1980s and Beyond:

The 1980s and 1990s saw a new generation of Indian writers making their mark in the English-language short story genre. Writers like Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, and Vikram Seth gained international acclaim. Their stories were often infused with postmodern elements, combining Indian history, culture, and politics with a global perspective.

In this era, the Indian short story also underwent a transformation with the emergence of the Indian diaspora as a significant literary force. Writers like Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, and Rohinton Mistry explored the immigrant experience, dislocation, and cultural assimilation in their stories. Lahiri's "Interpreter of Maladies" won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000.

Contemporary Trends:

In modern times, Indian authors producing short stories in English have continued to develop a wide variety of voices and topics in their work. Writers such as Aravind Adiga, Chetan Bhagat, and Jhumpa Lahiri have attained widespread acclaim on an international scale. The current short stories written in India include a wide variety of topics, including urbanisation, technology, LGBTQ+ problems, and more. Narrative structures and styles are becoming more and more open to experimentation among authors.

The increase in the number of female writers who focus on the perspectives and experiences of women is a remarkable trend in the literary world. Contributions of a considerable nature have been made to this storey by authors such as Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, and Manju Kapur, amongst others.

In addition, the Indian short storey has developed into a forum for voices from underrepresented groups. There has been a rise in popularity of works of literature such as Dalit literature, LGBTQ+ literature, and stories from locations that were previously underrepresented. These tales are frequently utilised to provide light on the social and political conditions that continue to have an impact on India in the modern era.

Q.III Analyze the novel The Binding Vine and discuss the techniques followed by Shashi Deshpande in it.

Ans) "The Binding Vine" is a novel by Shashi Deshpande, a prominent Indian author known for her insightful exploration of women's lives and societal complexities. This novel, published in 1993, is a powerful commentary on the experiences of women in contemporary Indian society and employs various narrative techniques to convey its themes and messages.

Multiple Perspectives: Shashi Deshpande skilfully employs a multi-narrative structure in "The Binding Vine." This narrative technique allows the story to be told from different characters' perspectives, offering a multifaceted view of the central themes and conflicts. It allows readers to empathize with various characters and understand their motivations and struggles. The use of multiple perspectives aids in creating a more complex and layered narrative, enhancing the reader's engagement with the story.

Flashbacks and Nonlinear Narrative: Deshpande uses flashbacks and nonlinear storytelling to weave the past and present together. This technique effectively captures the intergenerational complexities of women's lives in India. It reveals how the past continues to influence and shape the present, providing a deeper understanding of the characters' actions and the roots of their dilemmas.

Interior Monologue: The novel frequently delves into the interior monologues of its characters, allowing readers to gain insight into their thoughts, fears, and desires. By exploring the inner workings of characters' minds, Deshpande illuminates their emotional states, highlighting the psychological and emotional challenges they face. This technique creates a profound sense of empathy between the reader and the characters.

Symbolism and Imagery: Deshpande employs rich symbolism and vivid imagery throughout the novel. The "binding vine" itself becomes a potent symbol representing the entwining and stifling nature of traditional gender roles and societal expectations. This symbolism allows the reader to grasp the novel's central theme of women struggling against oppressive norms and the desire for liberation.

Dialogue: The novel's dialogue is another important narrative technique. The conversations among characters reveal their relationships, conflicts, and emotional states. These dialogues are often characterized by nuances and unspoken words, mirroring the complexities of human interaction and the unexpressed emotions of the characters.

Social and Political Commentary: Deshpande uses the novel to offer a commentary on social and political issues in contemporary India. She addresses topics such as the patriarchal structure of society, the challenges faced by women, and the impact of political and social change. This commentary is seamlessly integrated into the characters' lives and experiences, providing a realistic and thought-provoking exploration of these issues.

Character Development: Deshpande's portrayal of characters is a striking narrative technique. She crafts fully realized, multidimensional characters with whom readers can easily empathize. The characters' growth, struggles, and evolution are central to the narrative, making them relatable and deeply engaging.

Use of Letters: Letters play a significant role in the novel, providing a unique narrative technique. They allow characters to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, often addressing themes and issues they may not discuss in person. These letters create an intimacy between the characters and the reader and are instrumental in conveying emotions, relationships, and conflicts.

Q.IV Discuss the style and themes of the poems of Kamala Das with special reference to the poems prescribed in your course.

Ans) Kamala Das, a prominent Indian poet, is known for her distinctive style and exploration of themes that challenge societal norms, especially those related to gender, identity, and sexuality. In the poems "My Grandmother's House" and "Blood," we can observe her unique style and the recurring themes in her work.


Conversational Tone: Kamala Das often adopts a conversational and confessional tone in her poetry. She uses a first-person narrative, as if she is speaking directly to the reader. This makes her poems deeply personal and intimate, allowing readers to connect with her on a profound level.

Sensuous Imagery: Her poems are replete with sensuous and vivid imagery. In "My Grandmother's House," she describes the "spices, the pickles, the cool curds" and the "dark steps," which create a sensory experience for the reader. In "Blood," she employs imagery related to the body, especially menstrual blood, to convey a sense of femininity and physicality.

Repetition: Kamala Das often uses repetition for emphasis and to reflect on the central themes of her poems. For instance, in "My Grandmother's House," she repeats the phrase "I met a man" several times to underscore the impact of this encounter on her life.

Free Verse: Her poetry frequently eschews formal rhyme and meter, allowing for a more fluid and natural expression. This style reflects her unfiltered and unrestricted approach to her subjects.


Identity and Self-Exploration: One of the central themes in Kamala Das's poetry is the exploration of identity. She often grapples with questions of selfhood, particularly her role as a woman in society. In "My Grandmother's House," she reflects on her changing identity after encountering a man, and in "Blood," she delves into the intimate and essential aspects of her womanhood.

Sexuality and Gender: Kamala Das's poetry is marked by its open and honest exploration of female sexuality and the challenges that women face in a patriarchal society. She courageously addresses sexual desire, love, and the constraints placed on women's freedom. In "My Grandmother's House," she touches on the theme of love and longing, while in "Blood," she celebrates the physicality of being a woman.

Family and Tradition: In "My Grandmother's House," she reflects on her ancestral home and the impact it has had on her identity. She nostalgically remembers the customs, rituals, and traditions that were a part of her upbringing. The poem also portrays a sense of longing and homesickness.

Feminism and Empowerment: Kamala Das's poems are infused with feminist themes. She challenges the conventional roles assigned to women and emphasizes their right to assert their individuality and desires. Her poems are a call for female empowerment and liberation from societal constraints.

Sensuality and Intimacy: Sensuality and intimacy are recurring themes in her work. She unabashedly embraces physicality and desire. Her poems often explore the sensual and sexual dimensions of human relationships, expressing desire and longing.

Rebellion and Nonconformity: Kamala Das is known for her rebellion against societal norms and expectations. She unapologetically confronts convention and expresses her nonconformity, particularly in matters related to love, sexuality, and identity.

In "My Grandmother's House," she nostalgically reflects on her roots and how her identity has been influenced by her ancestral home, yet she also grapples with the desire for a different life. In "Blood," she celebrates the physicality of being a woman, asserting her right to embrace her femininity.

Q.V Critically analyze the story The Other Woman by Dina Mehta.

Ans) The Other Woman" by Dina Mehta is a poignant and thought-provoking short story that delves into complex themes related to love, relationships, and societal expectations. The narrative revolves around the central character, Rupa, and her encounters with her husband's lover, Sandhya. The story is structured in the form of a series of diary entries, offering intimate insights into Rupa's emotional journey and inner conflict.

Character Dynamics:

The narrative delves deeply into the complex dynamics of the relationships that exist between Rupa, her husband, and the man they both adore. Rupa is shown as a faithful wife; nevertheless, when she learns that her husband has been having an affair, she is forced to contend with feelings of betrayal, perplexity, and heartbreak. Throughout the entirety of the narrative, Sandhya, the other woman, is presented as a person that is shrouded in secrecy and mystique. Rupa's internal anguish is powerfully displayed as she vacillates between rage, jealousy, and pity towards Sandhya. Rupa feels that Sandhya is taking all the attention away from her. The dynamics of the characters in the novel shed light on the complexities of human emotions as well as the complexities of love and betrayal.

Narrative Style:

The narrative is given a sense of authenticity and closeness by being presented in the form of a journal. The reader is able to gain a sense of empathy and comprehension for Rupa's character through the reading of her journal entries, which provide access to Rupa's most private thoughts. This mode of writing does a good job of conveying the emotional journey that the protagonist goes through as she navigates the turbulent seas of her marriage and the revelation that her spouse has been unfaithful to her. The storey is told in the first person, which places the reader squarely in Rupa's shoes and renders her experiences and feelings highly accessible as well as profoundly moving.


Betrayal and Infidelity: The story primarily revolves around the theme of betrayal within a marriage. Rupa's shock and hurt upon discovering her husband's infidelity are palpable. Mehta highlights the emotional toll of betrayal and the shattered trust that ensues.

Complexity of Human Emotions: The story delves into the intricacies of human emotions, particularly in the face of a crisis. Rupa's character exhibits a range of conflicting emotions, from anger and jealousy to empathy and even curiosity. Mehta portrays the multifaceted nature of emotional responses when confronted with a challenging situation.

Societal Expectations: "The Other Woman" subtly addresses societal expectations placed on women in traditional marriages. Rupa grapples with societal norms that dictate a woman's role as a dutiful wife. Her internal conflict reveals the pressure and expectation to maintain the façade of a perfect marriage despite her husband's infidelity.

Self-Discovery: The novel focuses on the issue of self-discovery as Rupa, the protagonist, mulls over her husband's affair and her own feelings at the same time. Rupa's voyage causes her to question the sincerity of both her marriage and her own aspirations and needs, among other things. During a difficult time in her life, she starts to investigate both her identity and her deepest desires.

Impactful Storytelling:

The storytelling of Mehta is powerful and sympathetic at the same time. The storey encourages readers to ponder the intricacies of human relationships and the unpredictability of their own feelings by posing questions along those lines. The story's denouement, in which Rupa makes the decision not to confront either her husband or Sandhya, is a striking demonstration of how far she has come in terms of her emotional development and her ability to accept her situation. This decision is congruent with the overarching subject of coming to terms with one's own agency and discovering new aspects of oneself.

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