Gujarat Board GSEB Class 11 English Textbook Solutions Snapshots Chapter 8 The Tale of Melon City Textbook Exercise Important Questions and Answers, Notes Pdf.
Gujarat Board Textbook Solutions Class 11 English Snapshots Chapter 8 The Tale of Melon City
GSEB Class 11 English The Tale of Melon City Text Book Questions and Answers
Reading with Insight
Narrate ‘The Tale of Melon City’ in your own words.
The just and placid king once had a desire of building an arch across the thoroughfare to edify the spectators. Workmen with great agility constructed the arch. With an effervescent heart, he tried to pass through the arch. But his crown struck the arch and the king lost his crown. Furious at the disgrace he ordered the chief of the builder’s hang. But the chief of the builders blamed the workmen for this. The workmen proclaimed the mason to be guilty for the wrong brick size.
The mason even brushed off the blame blaming the architect. The architect put king in dilemma as the last correction was of the king’s. The king called for the wisest man to decide the guild. The old man ridiculously blamed the arch. But the arch was not punished as the arch touched the king’s head. But the king assumed the nerve of the public. As the public wanted a hang the king ordered for a hang without any guilt.
This proved boomerang for him. He was eventually hanged. His mutton head ministers decided to choose the next king in an awkward way i.e., whoever would first cross the gate, would choose the king. It so happened that a mad entered and he chose a melon as the king. And from then a melon ruled and the common people enjoyed complete freedom as the king melon endowed them “Laissez Faire”.
What impression would you form of a state where king was ‘just and placid’?
It seems that the state which is ruled by the king is the abode of fools. The king is flaky and capricious. The king considers himself as the one for whom the subjects are to be ruled like the ignorant. His desire of an arch is promptly fulfilled by the subject. But he seems to be whimsical when he chased them to punish.
As if he is the law and his wish is command, he dictates the death sentence. His ministers are like claques who flatter the king and keep their self-interest in sound state. The common masses are illiterate and crazy.
They are to enjoy a hang and they can go rebel if they are deprived of it. They are boorish and do not care who is being hung, even if the person is the king. They do not care whether they are ruled by a king. What they care is their self-interest. They want their self freedom, the facility to do any business and ironic life.
How according to you, can peace and liberty be maintained in a state?
Peace and liberty will be the outcome of a few key factors in running a state. A transparent and responsible administration free from partiality and corruption will perpetuate peace. A well-proven administrative system where there are no unlawful activities and where service to people is of most priority and delivered with ease; where grievance will be at lower stake and people will maintain trust on state and will work collaboratively are what to be the priority.
First priority must be to educate every child so that future rulers are wise, strong, and capable to heighten the civilized sensibility. A state must be free from all negative dogmas. Superstitions, blind religious hatred, favouring particular creeds and caste must be matters of trash bin. A state must be run by democratic process where there is no scope for tyranny and autocracy.
Suggest a few instances in the poem which highlight humour and irony.
‘The Tale of Melon City’ is best understood for its irony and humour.
The king decides to make an arch across the thoroughfare to edify the spectators. He creates a humorous scene when he dashes with the arch and loses his crown.
The king is of the mind of punishing the guilty that made the faulty arch. His chasing one after another and their excuses and blaming the king indirectly presents a ludicrous show.
When the wisest man is called, his conclusion of pointing the arch to be the culprit and their assay to hang it, giggles us.
We cannot but grin when we find the king to be the fittest person for the hang.
The process of choosing the new king and melon as the king creates utmost humour an us.
The king who desired for a hang to punish the guilty gets hanged for the public wanted a hang.
The wise man was selected because he was old and he could not see anything and points the arch to be the guilty and should be hanged without any precision.
The ministers chose a king on basis of a fool’s choice, i.e., a melon. And all accepted without bothering whether the king was human or not.
‘The Tale of Melon City’ has been narrated in a verse form. This is a unique style which lends extra charm to an ancient tale. Find similar examples in your language. Share them in the class.
(A) Such tales in Gujarati are as following:
- ‘Grammata’ – Kalapi
- ‘Makhi ane Balad’ – Snehrashmi
(B) Such tales in Hindi are as following:
- Andher Nagari’ – Bhartendu Harishchandra
- ‘Hitopadesh Kahaniyan’ – Jaysing Das
GSEB Class 11 English The Tale of Melon City Additional Important Questions and Answers
Answer the following questions in four to Jive sentences each:
What sort of king ruled over the state? What did he proclaim?
The king was fair and gentle. He seemed to be interested in the welfare of the masses. So he proclaimed that an arch should be constructed which should extend across the major thoroughfare. He hoped that it would improve people’s mind on looking at it.
What argument did the architect advance in self-defence? How did the king take it?
The architect reminded the king that he had made certain amendments to the original plans of the architect. He suggested that it was the fault of the king himself. On hearing it, the king became so angry that he nearly lost his ability to act sensibly or calmly.
Why did the king need some counsel and from whom? Do you think the man was really the wisest one? Give a reason for your answer.
The king got confused by the architect’s clever self-defence. So, he needed the advice of the wisest man in the country. The man selected was so old that he could neither walk nor see. He was not really the wisest one as wisdom does not necessarily come with age. His advice proves his worthlessness.
Why did the Ministers feel relieved? Do you think their elation was justified?
The Ministers felt relieved that the public’s eagerness to watch a hanging had been satisfied. They expressed their pleasure by saying that they found someone for hanging. They believed that if they had failed to do so, the unruly town might have turned against the king. Their elation is misplaced. The king had to lose his life to keep the public in good humour.
What ‘custom’ of the citizens is referred to in the tale? How did the Ministers decide to observe it?
It is their custom to choose the new ruler of their state. Whoever passed the City Gate first of all the next day, would choose the ruler of the state. This method of random choice excluded dynastic rule as well as conspiracies. The Ministers decided to observe it with proper formality.
How was the new ruler of the state selected?
The Ministers sent out messengers to declare that the next man to pass the City Gate would choose the ruler of their state. An idiot happened to pass the gate. When asked to decide who was to be the king, he replied, “A melon.” This was his standard answer to all questions. The Ministers declared that a melon would be their new ruler.
How did the accused try to shift the blame on others? How far did they succeed?
The chief of builders was the first one to be held guilty. He shifted the blame on the workmen. The workmen were surprised but did not lose their reasoning power. They told the king he had forgotten the fact that the bricks were made of the wrong size. Swayed by their rational argument, the masons were summoned. They trembled with, fear, but shifted the blame on the architect who was responsible for planning and erecting the arch.
The king ordered the architect to be hanged. The clever architect reminded the king that he had forgotten one small thing. He had made certain amendments to plans when the former had shown them to the latter. This clearly meant that he held the king responsible for the mishap. The king became very angry and lost his capacity of clear judgement. He called it a tricky thing and sought the advice of the wisest man in the country. Thus each accused succeeded in shifting the blame on others.
What impression do you gather about the king from ‘The Tale of Melon City’?
The just and placid king appears quite ruthless as he becomes ‘placider’ and decides to have all the workmen hanged instead of the chief of builders. His wobbling mind and capricious nature is indicated by the frequent changes in his decision. He is easily swayed by arguments and seems fickle-minded. He seems to be eager about public welfare and gets an arch constructed across the thoroughfare to edify them. The whimsical king is easily outwitted by the clever architect.
The king loses his head in a fit of anger. In order to save his skin, he seeks the advice of the wisest man in the country. The king wants to keep the public in good humour. He is quite observant and judges the mood of the masses correctly. His lack of foresight proves to be his doom. The height of the noose fits only his neck. He foolishly becomes a victim of his own order. He wants to prevent a public revolt but pays for the public amusement with his blood. Thus he is a short-sighted crank with muddled reasoning power.
What do you think makes ‘The Tale of Melon City’ interesting and edifying?
As the title indicates the poem tells a story about Melon City – a city named after its ruler. It is quite interesting and edifying to learn how the country got a melon as its ruler. In short, it was on account of customary choice. The people relate the story of a just and placid king who was hanged by his own Royal Decree.
What the king did for the people and how he held the trails of the accused both are quite amusing. The clever arguments of the accused to save their lives are equally interesting. The king feels the pulse of the people who want to see a hanging. He knows how mischievous an angry mob can be and hence orders that someone must be hanged immediately. The irony of the situation is that only the king is tall enough to fit the noose.
The practical-minded ministers resort to the age-old custom to choose the next ruler. The idiot’s choice is approved of in the name of custom. The people are indifferent to the fact that their ruler is a melon not a man. The behaviour of pragmatic ministers and equally selfish, foolish and mean people seems quite funny and interesting. It is instructive too. A wise man should avoid the company of fools.
“The poem mocks the process of fair trial and proper judgement.” How far do you agree with the statement?
The poem is a severe indictment of the age-old custom of delivering justice by word of mouth of the kings. There was a time when the King’s word was considered divine and whatever he uttered was law. A just and placid king was expected to protect the innocent and punish the quality. However, the process of trial and the ever-changing judgement’s make a fun of the whole process of fair trials and considered awards.
This is evident from the statements of the accused who try to save their lives by holding others responsible for the guilt. The King’s capriciousness and inability to see through the thin veil of their arguments make him an object of ridicule rather than a dispenser of divine justice. Hence, we agree fully with the above statement.
Comment on the ending of the poem ‘The Tale of Melon City’. What bearing does the ending have on the title of the poem?
Comment on the title of the poem ‘The Tale of Melon City’.
The ending of ‘The Tale of Melon City’ is quite significant. It has a direct bearing on the title. The ending of the poem reveals that the incidents took place long ago. It throws fight on the old custom of the state to choose their new ruler. Confronted with the dilemma, the ministers took the easy way out. The person who passed the City Gate next was to name the king. It happened to be an idiot who gave the standard answer “a melon” to every question.
So the melon was crowned the king, carried to the throne and respectfully set down there. The people are not at all ashamed to have’ a melon as their king. They say that if the king rejoices in being a melon, that’s all right with them. They find no fault with him as long as he leaves them to enjoy their peace, freedom and free trade. The capital city is called Melon City after the king. Thus the ending throws light on the selfish nature of the people and their belief in old customs. It also explains the title.
The Tale of Melon City Summary in English
The Tale of Melon City Summary:
The Tale of Melon City by Vikram Seth is a humorous poem about a king who is just opposite the terms ‘just and placid’. Rather the king is excited about everything in his kingdom. The poem is about one hasty decision of king that costs him his life. He orders to build an arch from where he can instruct the spectators. Well, the construction of the arch goes awry, as when the king stands, the arch being built too low, it touches the crown and as a result, it falls down. Falling of the crown is a matter of insult for the king, thus he orders to hang the chief of the builders.
Noose and gallows are prepared. The crowd is ready to .witness the convict go lifeless. But just in time the chief of builder blames the workmen for fault. Next the workmen are taken to the death penalty; they too cry aloud saying that this is the mistake of a mason. The maSon is then put next for the death punishment; well he passes the blame on the architecture. Well, the architecture being a clever guy says that the amendments in the plan were made by the king itself. This incident puts the king in a dilemma – he says that the situation is tricky.
The king calls for the wisest man in the country for a decision. An overly old man is brought for the decision. The old man can neither walk nor see but he says that the culprit must be hanged. So according to his judgment, the arch is made to hang. But it had touched the crown of the king thus it too was spared from being hanged. On the other hand, the crowd is going berserk. They want to see someone being hanged.
The king then decides that whosoever fits the noose will be hanged. One by one all men are measured; the only tall man that fits the noose is king. Thus, the king is hanged. The king is dead because of his own foolishness.
Who is going to be the next king of the kingdom? As a custom, the first man passing the City Gate will decide who can be the next king.
An idiot comes out as a passer-by. When asked he replies .melon – melon is his standard reply to all questions. A melon is crowned and declared as the king of the kingdom. A melon will rule over men – what a funny proposition is this.