Class 12 English Kaleidoscope

Broken Images

Girish Karnad

Thinking About the Play

Question 1: How genuine is the love that Manjula expresses for her sister?

Answer: To some extent, Manjula has really genuine love for her sister. When the Image interrogates further, Manjula shows some signs of sibling rivalry. Manjula shows her jealousy because her sister got more attention than her. Although Manjula tries to hide it, she even felt jealous of friendship between Pramod and Manjula’s sister.

Question 2: The sister does not appear in the play but is central to it. What picture of her is built in your mind from references in the play?

Answer: Manjula’s sister was afflicted by some neurological disorder which left her paralysed below the waist. In spite of her debilitating illness, the sister is full of vivaciousness. As she wanted to take everything from life, she studied numerous subjects on her own.

Question 3: When the image says – ‘Her illness was unfortunate. But because of it, she got the best of everything’

(a) What is the nature of Manjula’s reply?

Answer: Manjula replies in the affirmative and agrees that her sister got the best of everything.

(b) How can it be related to what follows in the play?

Answer: After that, Manjula shares her feeling of getting second hand treatment. She talks about her parents’ preferential treatment of her sister. She also talks about Pramod’s chemistry with the sister.

Question 4: What are the issues that the playwright satirises through this TV monologue of a celebrity?

Answer: There are two issues in this monologue. The first issue is of a vernacular writer writing in English, which makes many people squirm in their seats. The second issue is a mixture of many issues. It is about the life of a paralysed person. It is about the preferential treatment the paralysed person gets from everyone in the family. It is also about the feeling of step-motherly treatment which Manjula feels she got from her family members.

Talking About the Play

Question 1: ‘Broken Images’ takes up a debate that has grown steadily since 1947 – the politics of language in Indian literary culture, specifically in relation to modern Indian languages and English. Discuss.

Answer: Linguistic politics has been boiling in India right from the time of independence. Many new states were formed on linguistic basis, as a result of this politics. The linguistic politics was not limited to the political one-upmanship. Many writers of the past and modern times were rebuked for writing in English instead of their mother tongue. They were accused of betraying their mother tongue in the pursuit of commercial benefits. But we also need to understand that a writer also needs money to buy the comforts of life. Writing in vernacular is not commercially lucrative proposition. English, having a wider target audience, has better prospects of commercial success and recognition.

Question 2: The play deals with a Kannada woman writer who unexpectedly produces an international bestseller in English?

(a) Can a writer be a truly bilingual practitioner?

Answer: As the example of Manjula shows, a writer can indeed be a truly bilingual practitioner. Girish Karnad is another example who is comfortable with both Kannada and English.

(b) Does writing in an ‘other tongue’ amount to betrayal of the mother tongue?

Answer: I don’t think so. A person should write in a language which he thinks would do justice to the topic. Moreover, he should be comfortable in the chosen language. If someone is comfortable in controlling the flow of emotions in a particular language, he must write in that language, irrespective of the difference between his mother tongue and his chosen language.


Question 1: Why do you think the playwright has used the technique of the image in the play?

Answer: In this play, the image has been used to show inherent contradictions in a personality. Most of the times, a personality has many layers. Some of the layers are shown to the public, while most of the other layers are hidden from public glare. Nevertheless, there is a constant tussle going on between the external and internal self of a person. The image, in this case is portraying the inner self of the main protagonist.

Question 2: The play is called a monologue. Why is it made to turn dialogic?

Answer: The answer to this question is similar to the previous question.

Dialogue in a monologue has been used to show the contradictions between external and internal self of a person.

Question 3: What is the posture the celebrity adopts when the camera is on and when it is off?

Answer: The celebrity adopts entirely different posture on the camera, compared to off the camera. While the camera is on, her talks are measured, and they are based on the homework she did earlier. She is conscious and careful enough to hide what needs to be hidden at such moments. Once the camera is off, she shows her true self. She becomes spontaneous and careless. She even talks about her insecurities which she could not talk about when the camera was on.