This drama is about Mirabai’s love for Krishna & is legendary in Indian history. An ardent devotee of Lord Krishna, she sacrificed her worldly life for her love for him. In fact, she regarded him as her spiritual husband since childhood, though she was married to Bhojraj, the son of Rana Sanga of Mewar. The play deals with Mirabai’s relationship with her husband and her mother-in-law. As the wife of Bhojraj, she was supposed to live according to the standards of the royal family.
Bhojraj and Rani, Rana Saga’s wife, have come to complain to the Rana about Mirabai’s behaviour. Bhojraj is unhappy with his newly-wed as she gives more time to worship and prayer and shirks her duties towards him. The Rana is angry at this situation and Rani, who is jealous of Mirabai’s beauty and her importance in her son’s life, adds fuel to the fire. Jaimall, Mirabai’s cousin, pleads for Mirabai but the Rani resents it and turns him out of the family discussion. Another fact that aggravates the Rain’s wrath is Mirabai’s devotion for Lord Krishna. She says that even on her wedding day Mirabai had brought shame to the royal house of Mewar as she had walked three times round the image of Lord Krishna.
She insists that Mirabai worship Durga, the family deity. Mirabai is called for and Rana expresses his unhappiness over the unfortunate situation in the palace and insists that she worship Durga instead of Krishna. Mirabai tells the Rana that it would mean death to her if she did not worship Lord Krishna.
But the Rana turns a deaf ear to all her pleadings. He advises her to mix with the women of the palace, play with children, and even offers to buy her some jewellery if she stops worshipping Krishna and dismisses her from his presence. Before she leaves the room, Mirabai informs the Rana that she would give up her life rather than give up her worship of her beloved Lord Krishna.
Mirabai’s nurse, and her companion Sanjogta, feel that the atmosphere in the palace is ‘heavy’ and ominous. They feel that the Rani was upto some mischief as she hates Mirabai. Mirabai has no friends in the palace and so Sanjogta prepares food for her, herself. The nurse, feeling that Mirabai’s faith is responsible for her misfortune, advises Mirabai to pretend that she has forsaken Krishna Mirabai refuses to do so. Then, a maid from the Rani enters, pretending to have a message to deliver. She has, in fact, come to spy on Mirabai. It is the Rani’s trick to test Mirabai. Later Chamamrit is sent to her by the Rana and she is asked to drink it. In spite of the nurse’s warning and Sanjogta cry. Mirabai insists that she would meet her death with courage. Chanting a song with mystic fevour in honour of Lord Krishna, Mirabai holds the cup in her hand and drinks the Chamamrit
TEXTUAL COMPREHENSION :
Read the following extracts and answer the questions that follow :
‘If I’ d defied my husband’s mother, I should have felt her hand heavy upon me, though my blood was seven times royal. But I was docile and sought to please, often I wept myself to sleep.’
- Who is ‘I’ here ? What makes her say the above lines ?
- Who is ‘her’ in the second line ? what would she have done to the speaker in case she defled her ?
- What quality of Mirabai is the speaker trying to emphasize ?
Ans. (i) ‘I; here is the Rani. She is complaining to the Rana about Mirabai’s behaviour. She says that she had always been docile and obedient to her mother-in-law’s wishes whereas Mirabai flouts her authority openly.
(ii) ‘her’ in the second line is the Rani’s mother-in-law. Rana Sanga’s mother. In case the Rani defied her she would hit the Rani.
(iii) She is trying to imply that Mirabai may appear to be gentle and simple but she is obstinate.
‘Have you forgotten how on her very wedding day she walked three times around it, as if she were devoted to the service of the temple ? it was shocking; my very ears burned hot with sham.’
- Who is speaker ?
- What was shocking for the speaker ?
- Why was it shocking for her ?
- Why did Mirabai walk around the idol ?
Ans. (i) The Rani is the speaker.
(ii) Mirabai walking thrice around the deity of Lord Krishna on her wedding day.
(iii) She thought that Mirabai’s action had brought disgrace to the family honour because it almost seemed as if she was marrying the idol.
(iv) Mirabai was devoted to Lord Krishna. Even as a child she loved the idol, instead Of toys like other children.
‘Rana Sanga (taken aback) : What, by your own hand?’
(i) Why was the Rana taken aback ?
(ii) What was Mirabai’s reply to the above lines?
(iii) What trait of Mirabai’s character is seen in this lines?
Ans . (i) When Rana Sanga tells Mirabai to put away the idol of lord Krishna and to pray to Durga. The family deity of Mewar. Mirabai replies that she would die if she gave up worshipping lord Krishna. This reply shock Rana Sanga and he exclaims in shock and horror whether she intends committing suicide.
(ii) Mirabai replied that she would not commit suicide but if she was made to give up her worship of Krishna, she would die of grief.
(iii) Mirabai’s reply shows her strong faith and devotion to Krishna and her firm determination to carry on worshipping him in spite of all odds.
‘Only royalty may support the burden of royalty.’
(i) Who speaks this line and to whom?
(ii) What is the occasion or context?
(iii) What two qualities of Mirabai are reflected in this line?
Ans. (i) Mirabai speaks to Sanjogta.
(ii) The Rana had sent a cup of Chamamrit for Mirabai’s companion and her nurse suspected that it contained poison, so Sanjogta insists that she would drink it instead.
(iii) Mirabai’s fearlessness and her willingness to carry out her duty even if it meant embracing death Her firmness of purpose. She is willing to die rather then give up her faith.
‘Her sweet blood is so pure that Death, who lurked inside the cup, has shun away ashamed.’
(i) Who speaks these lines and about whom?
(ii) What has happened to death?
(iii) What quality of Mirabai is revealed by her drinking the Charnamrit?
Ans. (i) The nurse speaks these about Mirabai.
(ii) Death here refer to the poison present in the Charnamrit. Which Mirabai was to drink. According to her maid. the poison had failed to effect Mirabai because of her pure heart.
(iii) Her faith and devotion to Lord Krishna even in the face of death and her fearlessness.
hush ! your mother slipped, that’s all, when saying, ‘See thy bridegroom’.
(i) Who speaks these lines and to whom?
(ii) What light dose this speech throw on the character of the person who is addressed?
(iii) What are the consequences of the ‘slip’ in speech?
Ans. (i) The nurse speaks these lines to Mirabai.
(ii) Mirabai is a devotee of Lord Krishna. When she was a child of six her mother dedicated her to Lord Krishna She referred to him as her “bridegroom” then.
(iii) In her father-in-law’s house, Mira has to pay for worshipping Lord Krishna. The Rana Sends her a cup of poison. Mirabai willingly drinks this poisoned charnamrit but does not die.
Her parents are to blame, giving her images when most children would have been at play.
- Who is speaking the above lines ? About whom is he speaking ?
- What was the alleged fault of the parents blamed by the speaker? Was is really a fault. Give reason.
- Why does the speaker consider it a fault to be condemned? How would you justify him?
Ans. (i) Rana Sanga is speaking the above lines about Mirabai and her parents.
(ii) The alleged fault of the parents to earn blame was to give her the images of Lord Krishna At very early age. This made her devoted to the Lord but detached her from worldly matters. Really it was not a fault. Devotion was God given gift to her.
(iii) The speaker is worried about his son’s wedded life. Being devoted to Lord Krishna, Mirabai does not take any interest in her husband and other worldly affairs. This is a Matter of concern for the Rana. So he justifiably considers it to be a fault.
His birth excuses pride. He is the bravest of the brave race of Mar war; his place is on my right hand. Also, the boy is loyal, the first of the swords of Maru.
- Who speaks these lines and to whom?
- Who is the boy? What has happened to him ?
- What two qualities of his character are mentioned her ?
Ans. Rana Sanga speaks these lines to the Rani.
(i) Who speaks these lines to the Rani.
(ii) ‘The boy’ is Jaimall. He has been turned out disgracefully from the family conversation of Rana Sanga.
(iii) He is brave and loyal.
You are beside yourself. Leaves me, but let me here no more of this defiance. My mind is heavy with the affairs of state. I need no other source of sorrow.
- Who speaks these lines and to whom?
- What do you learn about the speaker’s mood from these lines?
- What two pieces of advice are offered by the speaker?
Ans. (i) Rana Sanga speaks these lines to Mirabai.
(ii) Rana Sanga, the speaker is upset because of Mirabai. He is already burdened with the worries of the state. He does not want to here of any disobedience by Mirabai.
(iii) The two main pieces of advice offered by Rana Sanga to Mirabai are :
(i) Being a Rajputni, she should put away the sickly habit and (ii) She should bear sons who might defend Chittor against its enemies.
Our destinies have been written long ago. Our going forth or turning back is of such small account in that great sum set by the gods of which the answer is hidden from us.
- Who speaks these line and to whom? What makes the speaker say so?
- What do these lines imply indirectly about the speaker’s nature and outlook?
- Does the listener understand the import of such a statement? What does she say about it ?
Ans. (i) Mirabai speaks these lines to the nurse in response to the remarks made by the nurse earlier when she cursed the day the two had set out for Mewar.
(ii) These lines imply that the speaker is religious by nature and has full faith in the dispensation of God.
(iii) The listener i. e. the nurse, does not understand the import of such a statement.
She simply says that understanding such ideas is beyond her age.
I paid in full, weighed to the utmost grain, My love, my life, my self soul , my all.’
- Who speaks these line and on what occasion?
- What is paid in full?
- Who is my love, my life, my soul , my all’? Why?
Ans. (i) Mirabai chants these lines as she holds in her hands the cup of poison sent to her in the form of Chamamrit.
(ii) Mirabai pays in full the greatest price of her extreme love for Lord Krishna.
(iii) Mirabai is dedicated and devout worshipper of Lord Krishna. She loves him more than anything else in the world. For her, Krishna is everything. He is ‘her love’, ‘life, ’self’ ,’soul’ and ‘all’
SHORT ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS:
‘…………I ll tales have reached my ears of your behaviour since you became a daughter of our house, ’says Rana . what has he heard about her?
Ans. Rana Sanga had heard about the ugly situation created in the place due to the following reasons:
- Mirabai worships Lord Krishna and not the family deity goddess Durga.
- She fails to discharge her duties as a wife. Instead, she spends her time writing Verses and is often found in prayer with the priests.
- Above all, she has disobeyed the Rani. She is obstinate and hard as granite and disrespectful towards the Rani.
When Sanjogta says, The clouds are heavy. There is thunder in the air’, the nurse replies,’ Inside the palace and out’. Explain.
Ans. Sanjogta meant the clouds and the thunder outside, the natural phenomenon, but the nurse meant to say that the atmosphere inside the palace was also equally stormy. The air was tense. There was trouble brewing with the Rana and Rani on one side and Mirabai on the other. She realized that the Rani and the others were conspiring to harm Mirabai.
“One’s faith is one ‘s own” In the light of this statement, comment upon Mirabai’s Devotion to Lord Krishna.
Ans. This remark is made by Mirabai to Rana Sanga when the latter tried to dissuade her from worshipping lord Krishna. He reminded her to worship goddess Durga who was the family deity. Mirabai had been devoted to the worship of Lord Krishna since her childhood. So strong was her faith that he drank the poisoned Charnamrit without any fear. All her time was spent in praying, writing and singing devotional songs only.
LONG ANSWER TYPE QUESTIONS :
Write a character sketch of Mirabai giving incidents from the text that reveal her character.
Ans. Mirabai was a very religious person. She spent her time in prayer and in writing devotional verses in praise of Lord Krishna. She is also a private person and feels that ‘one’s own’. She was courageous and did se courage while facing the Rana. She was prepared to be killed rather then yield to the Rana’s order to stop worshipping Krishna. Mirabai also across as a determined person. Despite opposition, and a threat to her life, she was not willing to give up her worship of Lord Krishna. She has faith in the rightness of her devotion. This drink gives her the strength of mind to drink the Chamamrit even though she realizes it may be poisoned. She is an innocent, guileless person. According to her nurse, her bosom is pure like a white lotus. She bears no ill-will against anyone. Open and straightforward Mirabai dismisses her nurse’s plea that she hide her faith and act as if she had repented. Mirabai had a strong belief in destiny. She had full faith In the justice to be dispensed by the Almighty and gladly drank the poisoned Chamamrit. Despite living in a hostile world, Mirabai is cheerful and gentle Even when the Rani sends her maid to spy on her. Mirabai does not lose her temper.
What is Rana Sanga’s attitude towards Mirabai ?
Ans. In the beginning ‘Rana Sanga is not unsympathetic towards Mirabai. He does not see any fault in her devotion to Lord Krishna as long as she does not neglect her duties as a wife. He finds her quite gentle. It is only when the ‘Rani poisons his ears that he changes his altitude towards her. He summons her to his presence and tries to reason with her and advise her. He even tries to bribe her into changing her ways by offering her jewellery Only when she is adamant in her refusal to give up her faith that he loses his temper and accuses her of defying his orders.
Attempt three chief qualities of the Rani as a mother-in-law.
Ans. The Rani is a shrewd woman. She has jealousy towards Mirabai. She incites Rana Sanga, her husband, against Mirabai. She complains that Mirabai worships Krishna . she does not worship Durga, who is the goddess of the house. She even tell a lie to poison the ears of the Rana. She says that Mirabai disobeys her. The Rani is not a courageous or brave woman. She cannot face Mirabai, so she retires before Mirabai comes to see the Rana. She sets spies on Mirabai and wants to harm her. She has evil designs against Mirabai. Ultimately she succeeds in sending a cup of poison to Mirabai in the name of Charnamrti.
What sort of life, according to the nurse, is Mirabai Leading in the palace?
Mirabai says to the servant of the Rani that she is “………in a strange land” and is “little better then a captive” Explain her statement.
Ans . Mirabai is leading a lonely life in the palace. The nurse says that the Rani hates Mirabai and is envious of her beauty. Out of jealousy, the Rani dislikes Mirabai and poisons the ears of the Rana against her. She sets spies on Mirabai. The atmosphere is so vicious that even the servant of the palace will be glad if some harm comes to Mirabai. She is a prisoner in her rooms. Sanjogta and of a captive.
Why does Rana angry with Mirabai? How did he advise her to get out of her devotion of Krishna ?
Ans. Rani being a crafty and spiteful woman kept inciting Rana against Mirabai. She accused Mirabai of defying her orders and neglecting her wedded duties. Provoked and incited, Rana sent for Mirabai and asked her to worship Durga instead of Krishna. He advised her to mix with the ladies of the house and take pleasure in trinkets and other worldly possessions. According to him, she had made herself sick with too much brooding. He offered to get her a necklace of rare stones and advised her to spend her time in bringing up her sons well as they were the future of Chittor.
Imagine that you are a drama critic. Write a review of the dramatization.
Ans. The play ‘Mirabai’ deals with the life of a young princess Mira when she comes in the palace of the Rana of Mewar as a wife of Bhojraj, the king’s son. It is fine dramatization of the treatment meted out to Mira in her new home. Almost all the characters have lived up to their role. The whole scene proves an excellent picturisation of the palace vis-à-vis Mirabai’s sincere devotion to Lord Krishna. The roles, language and dialogues are apt, concise and illustrative. All these help build up the atmosphere of the play.
The dramatization is beautifully organized on the stage to produce the desired effects. The characters by their entrances, exists, props etc. make it a coherent whole with exact expressions on their faces suiting the ups and downs of their surcharged emotions.
The music has been blended suitably with various stages of the play that it seems to be their integral part. The costumes are in full agreement with the period with which the play deals.
The rendering of the play is flawless, and almost near perfection. It depicts the nuarices of a play. The heightened glory is revealed in Mirabai’s taking the ‘Charnamrti’ and drinking it in her humble service to her master, Lord Krishna. The suspense builds up and the climax reached. The audience are enthralled and transported to a bygone era. Mira pays in full the price of being devoted it Krishna. The lord saves his devotee. The poison has no adverse effect on Mira. The ending thrills and excites the spectators.